Louise Bourgeois: No Exit
November 15, 2015 – May 15, 2016
West Building, Ground Floor, Galleries 22 and 22A
This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.
Bourgeois preferred instead to identify herself as an existentialist. She imbibed the writings of the philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus — her generational peers — and often quoted Sartre. She even named one of her sculptures after his 1944 existentialist play No Exit, in which three strangers are forever trapped together in a room. To a great extent, her work addresses existentialist concerns born of a period of war, conflict, and distress: the struggle of choosing to live meaningfully and authentically in an uncertain, hostile, and indifferent universe. While Bourgeois’s illogical spaces, irrational juxtapositions, and distorted anthropomorphic forms might appear surrealist in nature, her subjects testify to her commitment to existential thought.
Organization: Organized by National Gallery of Art, Washington