A new exhibition of works by artists Louise Bourgeois and BRACHA L.E, on view at the gallery’s online viewing room. "Two", surveys the practice of these prominent female artists across media and time spans.

7 January - 28 February 2022
  • Bracha L.E / Louise Bourgeois

  • Braverman Gallery is pleased to present "Two" a new exhibition of works by artists Louise Bourgeois and BRACHA L.E, on view at the gallery’s online viewing room. "Two", surveys the practice of these prominent female artists across media and time spans. Working in disparate formal vernaculars, the works of both artists can nonetheless be characterized by a deeply personal, uncompromising artistic style that explores trauma, femininity and memory and that challenges the hegemony of the defining movements of the 20th and 21st centuries. Over the past 25 years a multitude of conceptual and physical connections between Louise Bourgeois’ and BRACHA L.Es work have been established. Art historians such as Griselda Pollock, Catherine de Zegher and Rosi Huhnhave traced the commonalities shared by these important contemporary artists, despite their generational and geographical distances.

  • Bourgeois and BRACHA first exhibited side by side in the groundbreaking 1996 exhibition Inside the Visible  at the ICA Boston, MA (which traveled to the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; Whitechapel, Gallery, London, UK; and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia). The exhibition featured works by Agnes Martin, Mona Hatum and Carrie Mae Weems, among others, and shone a spotlight on subliminal links that exist between female artists from different generations. Later Bourgeois and Ettinger were featured in the exhibitions Gorge(l): Oppression and relief in art  at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp, in 2006-2007 alongside Frida Kahlo, Marlene Dumas, Francesca Woodman, and more; and in Elles at Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010) which presented them, each in her different way and period, as pioneering artists alongside Ligya Clark and Sherri Levine. 

    Currently, both artists’ works are exhibited in Psychic Wounds, the Warehouse, Dallas together with Eva Hesse, Cindy Sherman and Cecily Brown, Gerhard Richter, to name a few. Inside the Visible, Gorge(l), and Psychic Wounds are dynamic examples of an arc of exhibitions where, spanning the course of 25 years, the curators recognized BRACHA L. E's inspiration and invited her to contribute a theoretical article.  The connections between Louise Bourgeois' and BRACHA’s work have been esteemed in a variety of textual contexts, including Rosi Huhn’s essay “Louise Bourgeois: Deconstructing the Phallus within the Exile of the Self” where the art historian analyzed Bourgeois’ artistic expressions using BRACHA L.E concepts. Another example is the critically acclaimed book Women Artists of the Millennium (MIT Press, 2011), where each chapter was dedicated to a single female artist such as Bourgeois, BRACHA, Sally Mann, Pipiloti Rist and Francesca Woodman, published following a symposium by the same title, held at Princeton University in 2001, marking the 30-year anniversary of Linda Nochlin’s seminal essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”. Another notable occasionwas Griselda Pollock’s lecture What if Art Desires to be Interpreted? Remodelling Interpretation after the ‘Encounter-Event held at the Tate Britain, July 2010.

    However, given the vast web of connotations, this is the very first time where the works of Bourgeois and BRACHA are exclusively and directly juxtaposed in the format of a comparative two-person exhibition.

    The junctions where the practices of BRACHA and Bourgeois meet are particularly relevant. Despite belonging to different eras and using distinct materials and forms, the works of both artists present a deep engagement with themes of subliminal trauma, the feminine unconscious, and motherhood. For BRACHA the experience of women and mothers in wartime is crucial. Given the insurmountable barriers posed for female artists who were also mothers, even as late as the mid 1990s, breaking the taboos instated by male-centric hegemony as well as by second wave feminist theory, Bourgeois and BRACHA―each of her own accord―formed different explorations where issues of motherhood and trauma could transform the artistic space and its abstract values.

    The exhibition however, does not only present an inquiry into the confluences and refluences of the artists' practices and an examination of the core of each of their artistic productions. It offers a new interpretative model that stimulates thinking while it arouses feeling. Opening a variety of generative possibilities, TWO matrixially' investigates the interplay of formal, conceptual, material and metaphysical planes within each artwork, with an emphasis on Bourgeois’ sense of empowerment and BRACHA's sense of vulnerability.

    In her capacity as a philosopher BRACHA L.E has developed the Matrixial―a highly complex theoretical model that explores, through art-practicing and psychoanalysis, the thresholds of identity and memory with an emphasis on witnessing and caring. Through an exploration of the gaze and phantasmatic screen, shared affect and artistic 'com-passion', she opens new horizons and suggests perspectives on ethics and aesthetics, on beauty, the uncanny, trauma, and the sublime, which allow a fresh look at both artists’ work. 

  • BRACHA L.E, Kadish n.1 , 2015-2019,  oil on canvas, 40 X 30

  • Louise BourgeoisUntitled, 2000, ink and pencil on paper, 27.94 X 18.73 cm, © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS)

  • Two extrapolates on this very notion; in re-examining trauma and aesthetic experience through the act of witnessing as suggested by BRACHA, a novel matrix emerges, one that does not fall back on the historic or biographic as interpretive models of encounters, rather one that creates a new set of meanings that are not bound to a predetermined symbolic order and depend on the emotions stirred  by the artwork as it reaches our spirit. That is to say, that while Bourgeois and BRACHA’s work consciously or unconsciously deal with trauma, their use of artistic tools in order to bridge an ocean of emotional depth renders the very concept of trauma anew for the viewer and opens our sensitivities to the healing impact of art. 

  • BRACHA has been quoted saying that it is the destiny of the artwork to be interpreted: “artists continually introduce into culture all sorts of Trojan horses from the margins of their consciousness; in that way, the limits of the Symbolic are transgressed all the time by art. It is quite possible that many work-products carry subjective traces of their creators, but the specificity of works of art is that their materiality cannot be detached from ideas, perceptions, emotions, consciousness, cultural meanings, etc, and that being interpreted and reinterpreted is their cultural destiny. This is one of the reasons why works of art are symbologenic.”

    • BRACHA L.E, Untitled , 2016
      BRACHA L.E, Untitled , 2016
    • Bracha L.E, Untitled , 2021
      Bracha L.E, Untitled , 2021
  • Louise Bourgeois, Untitled, 1945
    Louise Bourgeois
    Sans titre, 1946
    ink on blue paper
    14 5/16 x 5 5/8 in.

    Louise Bourgeois

    Untitled, 1945

    A dynamic drawing in ink on blue paper, Untitled exhibits an enigmatic image drawn in a vertical format. This unique work on paper from 1946 is exemplary of the breadth of Bourgeois artistic practice, suggesting an engagement with domesticity and the female body-and the ways in which the two relate to each other. 

    Emblematic of the versatility of Bourgeois’ art making process and her command of drawing as a technique, Untitled reflects the artist’s unique form of surrealism and her unequivocal ability to create complexity while using very few formal means. 

     

    © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS)

  • BRACHA L.E, Untitled , 2018

    BRACHA L.E

    Untitled , 2018 carbon toner, photocopic pigment and ashes, pigment, india ink, color pencil on paper
    15.5X19 cm
    • BRACHA L.E, Untitled, 2021
      BRACHA L.E, Untitled, 2021
    • BRACHA L.E, Untitled , 2021
      BRACHA L.E, Untitled , 2021
    • BRACHA L.E, Untitled, 1989
      BRACHA L.E, Untitled, 1989
    • BRACHA L.E, Kadish n.1 , 2015-2019
      BRACHA L.E, Kadish n.1 , 2015-2019
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    • BRACHA L.E, Kadish n.2, 2015-2019
      BRACHA L.E, Kadish n.2, 2015-2019
      View more details
  • In this enticing etching Bourgeois presents a double headed, impregnated, female body is seen from its side. The title references Janus- the god of passages, gateways, transitions, beginnings and endings in ancient Rome. In Roman tradition and subsequently throughout the history of art Janus is depicted as a figure with two heads facing in opposite directions.

     

    The slender lines comprising the figure alongside the explicit title suggest the transitions, beginnings and endings associated with the feminine experience and with motherhood. The mirrored head of the pregnant figure, extending out beyond the picture plane, is a metaphor to what the artists defined as the “polarity we all represent”. Over the span of her career Bourgeois dealt with femininity, maternity, and the female body in ways seldom seen before. 

    In this enticing etching Bourgeois presents a double headed, impregnated, female body is seen from its side. The title references...

    Louise Bourgeois, Janus, 2008

  • BRACHA L.E
    BRACHA, Untitled # 10146

     

     

    BRACHA L.E

    BRACHA L.E’s (b. 1948) artistic practice spans from oil painting and drawing, to photography, video, notebooks and lecture performances. BRACHA’s artistic undertakings are characterized by a pioneering exploration of the feminine and the historical unconscious. Formally and conceptually this investigation is manifested through an unparalleled study of color, light and line, alongside personal and collective trauma of war. Over the past three decades BRACHA has developed a distinct process in which she draws from a regular arsenal of visual sources that range from personal photographs, to historic images through to archival materials, which she uses time and time again. Replicating and reproducing the images on canvas or paper, BRACHA painstakingly transforms her source material by tools of drawing and painting in a process that ensues over a number of years. Creating intimately scaled works in which layers and striations of color are repeatedly accumulated on two-dimensional surfaces, BRAHCA has formulated a groundbreaking methodology in which transparent layers of luminosity and shadow simultaneously integrate, amalgamate and fuse within the picture plane while still remaining distinguishable and separate. Probing the ways in which terror and trauma are processed and traced, BRACHA’s work explores how these may exceed the limits of the individual and embed themselves within the psychology of the colloquial other, while avoiding the institution of a collective memory, but rather invoking a new kind of cross-consciousness. In her use of color, light, ready-made images and various reproduction methods intermingled with painting BRACHA creates a never-before-seen depth of field within a painting, enabling the vibration of multiple perspectives within one picture plane. Oscillating effortlessly between subject and object, the symbolic and the ‘real’; BRACHA creates an undeniable resonance between historic collective trauma and the feminine space. The result is a powerfully radiant, novel, painting plane; a womb-like space which allows for primordial emergence to occur. This womb-painting space is rendered by BRACHA as a space of testimony, witnessing, wondering and revelation summoning the matrixial mode of interpreting an artwork. Traditional readings of Bourgeois’ and BRACHAs work have thus far focused on the aforementioned aspects of personal and shared trauma, engagement with womanhood and femininity, or mother-daughter relationships. This exhibition suggests looking beyond the premise of the biographical and to examine the works of each artist through their various abstract values and specific spans of imagination, as well as through the politics of difference as presented in the Ettingerian thinking. Inviting the viewer to enter a perspective that puts forth its act of interpretation as a collaborative, reciprocal activity solicited by the artwork.

  • Louise Bourgeois

    One of the foremost artists of the twentieth century, Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) is known for her inimitable visual language and influential creative practice. With an oeuvre spanning from large-scale sculpture and installation to painting, printmaking and textile work, Bourgeois’ work continues to inspire our period. For more than seven decades Bourgeois' work explored themes of trauma, abandonment, domesticity, female sexuality, the human body, fear, death and separation. Through an introspective process of probing and examination, Bourgeois crafted a unique lexicon of personal symbolism and recurring motifs. Drawing from her own life experience, Bourgeois developed a strikingly personal form of surrealism which touches and feeds-off the emotional profundity of psychology and the human experience.

     

    Louise Bourgeois

    Louise Bourgeois, Untitled, 1941 

  • BRACHA L.E
    Untitled , 2013
    India ink and watercolor on paper
    5.5 X 15.5 cm
  • © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS)
    Louise Bourgeois
    Nature Study, 1986
    Marble
    73.7 x 144.8 x 71.1 cm. (29 x 57 x 28 in.)
    Unique

    © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS)