If you’re scared of spiders, it’s probably best if you keep away from the Rijksmuseum Gardens at the moment! For the last few years there’s been an exhibition of works by a noted sculptor in the gardens, and this year they have works on display by Louise Bourgeois, who is well known for her bronze sculptures of giant spiders,
When we’d looked around the Tassel Museum we wandered along the canals, grabbed a bite to eat and then made our way to the Rijksmuseum. We expected that there would be an exhibition in the gardens and we knew we’d have time to have a look before we got the train back to Haarlem. And, unlike the main part of the museum, entry is free! We hadn’t checked out what was on but as soon as we spotted the first sculpture, we knew who the artist was! Luckily spiders don’t scare me, as several of the arachnid monsters are on display! !
The gardens themselves are very attractive and popular on a sunny day – and the sun kept breaking through the cloud while we were there.
Louise Bourgeois grew up in a suburb of Paris, in a family of antique tapestry dealers and restorers. In 1938, following her marriage to the American art historian Robert Goldwater, she emigrated to the United States. It took a long while before her work was acknowledged, as it was quite different from the type of art popular in America at the time. and she only started to become popular in the 1970s when she was in her 60’s.
Her work often represents aspects of her life. the spiders, for example, are influenced by her protective mother who, although she didn’t spin webs, was a weaver and by the familie’s tapestry repair business.
I came from a family of repairers. The spider is a repairer. If you bask into the web of a spider, she doesn’t get mad. She weaves and repairs it
This was probably the only one of the 12 sculptures on display I wasn’t so keen on. It rather reminded me of the monsters that used to appear in Doctor Who in the 1970’s – perhaps that’s why!
This was the earliest work on display. It’s quite different from the others and rather like the works of Brancusi. It’s apparently meant to be a self portrait of the artist surrounded by her 3 children.
This rather moving group of bronze sculptures displayed on rough stone pedestals, represent friendship and solidarity. They were originally displayed in New York on a site with a view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, where immigrants first arrived in America, although they are now normally sited in the Tuilleries in Paris. Their message has a contemporary resonance with all the movement of people trying to escape war and poverty, looking for a better life. Some people show friendship and solidarity to them. Sadly, in these cruel times, too many don’t.
This sculpture of a child’s hand was particularly touching (emotionally, that is, of course)
These two high-gloss aluminium sculptures of Untitled (2004), hanging from the branches of the great wingnut tree, refer to her father’s habit of storing chairs by hanging them on roof beams in the attic of their home
Inside the museum entrance atrium there were four seats in the form of giant eyes