In and Out #2
Louise Bourgeois’s work in the garden of the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum
Louise Bourgeois’s work strikes me so often. It has given me insights that seem to have been achieved by myself… It is quite complicated to put my finger on how influence by other artists works, how it invades one’s image-thinking and its later growth. It is more than evident that Bourgeois’s work and attitude influenced my sculptural life by making me aware of the meaning and importance of making sculptures.
The way she used to live and work amidst her works was firm support for the choices I have made to weave my work and my life up until now. My first encounter with her work was in New York by the end of the eighties. I saw many exhibitions in the Netherlands afterward and other European countries. The second time that I visited New York, in 1996, I found by happy coincidence a book called Entrails, Heads and Tails, Photographic essays and conversations on the everyday with contemporary artists, by Paola Igliori and Alstair Thain. The book contains photographs and conversations with several artists about their daily working and living environment.
It is still my most-beloved book concerning Bourgeois. We see her work and other things in her house/studio that comprises so many memories and histories. And that is really, I think, our most vital correspondence, the love and attention for tactual things, matters and materials, stuff, utensils, in short everything that one could use as one’s companions, that represent certain values and that open up for attachment.
In the garden of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, I was recently – again – surprised by an aluminum work of hers, that I had never seen before. The sculpture evokes memories of many of her drawings.
In and Out #2
Another view. It is a complex sculpture in which three forms hang and move slowly.
In and Out #2
This work did conquer my head instantly. It finally works as a sort of reference point for two sculptures that I was currently working on in my studio and that were nearly finished:
Fall no 3
Bell for C
Getting over trauma’s in her personal life was the main source of Bourgeois’s work. This does not account for me in such an explicit and recognizable way, as we can read in Laura van Grinsven's ‘Dialogue' in my 2016 book/catalogue Opnieuw Reset. Van Grinsven described the relation between my life and work as follows:
Although the sculptures are not portraits of Luik’s personal life, they cannot be imagined without the person of the artist: the links of Links take on a different appearance depending on her mood while making them.
Luik: ‘The works that I made from “inner necessity,” without any external demand, communicate in the first instance with myself. In those works I ask myself questions about my working method: “Why do I want everything to look so clearly touched – with fingerprints clearly visible? And why is there seldom a straight line to be seen? …
An idea for a sculpture may come to me quite suddenly: it is as if it comes from my back or somewhere at the back of my head. A strong presence, but not yet clearly defined, it carries within it the need to be made tangible. And then a process begins – a process of foregrounding and highlighting. Finding a construction for something that was not there before.’
Luik’s work is not expressive. Rather, it possesses a physical and material intelligence. Each work revolves around the desire to investigate and to find out answers. Within the hands are the questions, the urgency, the subjects. The head is empty and receptive to what is in the ‘back-brain’.
Hieke Luik (NL)
30 parts of bronze
In the background: Adorant
Hieke Luik, August 2019