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Louise Bourgeois: Self Portrait

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Hauser & Wirth / Online / Art

A single image can be so rich and deep that one needs nothing else. But a single image that reads in time? Hauser & Wirth online, with extensive annotation, is featuring a spectacular 2009 textile work by Louise Bourgeois—Self Portrait. On an old white bedspread, Bourgeois stitched the numerals 1 to 24 in a huge circle (really more of an oval). With this clock of 24 hours, a nod to one of the classical unities, she tells the story of her life in a single day. Each hour has its own printed drypoint picture. Starting and ending with 24 (at the top) is the artist’s famous symbol of her mother: a looming spider with cage-like legs. The pictures from one to 23 move chronologically, from childhood through fertility and family, to artistic isolation and mind-body ambivalence. Above the clock are three more totems of sex, birth, and blood (note the echo been the oval pregnancy and the oval clock). It’s a work with no exit—a primal cycle, an unblinking eye, the universe a womb. —L.J.

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