She is already an octogenarian when she develops the theme of the spider. By entitling Maman her most mesmerizing spiders, she seems to clarify her most intimate desire but in reality she blurs it with complacency.
The world of a real spider is certainly of high complexity. It (she) is patient, steady in the center of her web which she builds and efficiently repairs after a destruction. The polygon of her eight legs offers a shelter for her loved ones, but she is also a fierce predator to the insects. Her small size makes her vulnerable but the artist will enlarge it to make her the towering star of a dehumanized parallel universe.
The spider is not a vertebrate and her behavioral psychology is inaccessible. She amazed those who approached her since the mythological times. By choosing this beast as a symbol of motherhood, Louise Bourgeois is not an artist of animals but indeed a highly disturbing surrealist artist in the line of Wifredo Lam.
Within her old age, Louise Bourgeois remained hypersensitive to sexual ambiguity and sexual promiscuity. On October 15, 2015, Sotheby's sold for £ 1.2M including premium a showcase realized in 2001 titled Mother and child, exhibiting a limp infant on the nude torso of a woman like some externalization of pregnancy. The carefully carved body of Bourgeois's spiders is certainly another female carnal and Freudian symbol.
A spider 6.68 x 6.33 m for 3.38 m high cast in 1996 was sold for $ 10.7 million including premium by Christie's in New York on November 8, 2011. On November 10, the same auction house offers another even wider variant also in bronze, 7.56 x 7.06 x 3.26 m, executed in 1997, lot 10B.
I invite you to watch the video shared by Christie's.
SOLD for $ 28M including premium