Eye Benches II, 1996-97
Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010)
Vision itself plays the main role in Louise Bourgeois’ piece Eye Benches II, their fronts showing a pair of eyes and their backs are shaped like seats. The large format and absence of faces contributes to the eyes being perceived from a distance as something else, but up close, the details are clear. The pupils are shaped like globes and enclosed by both an iris and eye whites.
The human body, and her own life, are the major themes of Louise Bourgeois’ artwork. Childhood and the experiences harvested by the eyes have always been important starting points for her artwork. She considers eyes to be our most important tools; they reflect the soul and unlike hands and words, they cannot lie. Sadness, joy, anger, friendliness, pain and trust are seen in our eyes.
Different versions of her “eye benches” are found, among other places, in Seattle and Pittsburgh. Here on the grass, below the garden in Umedalsparken, is one version. It gazes up towards IKSU Spa, and with the back shaped like seats, we can sit down and look both forwards and backwards in interplay with the sculpture.
Louise Bourgeois is one of this century’s most acclaimed artists. Originally from France, she was born in 1911 and raised in Paris. In 1938, she moved to New York and had her major international breakthrough in 1982, when she was the first woman ever to have a retrospective show at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. In 1993, she was the US representative at the Venice Biennale (IT).