MamanEnlarge image

Maman, 1999, cast 2003

Louise Bourgeois
French, American, 1911 - 2010
bronze, stainless steel, and marble
927 x 891 x 1024 cm
Purchased 2004
National Gallery of Canada (no. 41429)
© Louise Bourgeois

The National Gallery of Canada is presently installing "Maman", a large sculpture depicting a recurrent motif in Bourgeois' oeuvre, the spider. Here, the insect embodies fertility and motherhood through a sac of marble eggs located at its underbelly. Louise Bourgeois' extraordinary career has spanned close to eight decades and been associated with many of the major movements of the twentieth century, including Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, and Feminism. With its monumental and terrifying scale, "Maman" has become an icon of contemporary art, inciting a mixture of fear and curiosity. "Maman" has previously been shown at the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia (2002), Rockefeller Center Plaza, New York (2001), the inaugural installation of the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall, London, U.K. (2000) and has been featured in the past two National Gallery of Canada summer exhibitions at the Cité de l'énergie, Shawinigan, Quebec, "The Body Transformed" (2003) and "Noah's Ark" (2004).