Louise Bourgeois’s “Maman” or “The Spider;” bronze, marble and stainless steel, approximately 30ft x 32ft x 38ft. Bourgeois writes “The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver…..Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.” The French word Maman translates as mom or mommy, the appellation a child uses for his or her mother.
Maman (1999) is one of the artist's most ambitious and recognizable works. The sculpture is a monumental steel spider, almost 9 meters tall. The creature has a sac containing 10 marble eggs located at its underbelly and its abdomen and thorax are made of ribbed bronze. It is the largest of a series of spider sculptures that Bourgeois created. Bourgeois’s spider also represents fertility through the sac of marble eggs and explores an ambiguous notion of motherhood: the animal is protector and predator……it also evokes awe and fear, yet her massive height, improbably balanced on slender legs, acts at once as a cage and as a protective lair, conveying an almost poignant vulnerability
There was nothing particularly challenging in obtaining this shot. We were on a trip to Northern Spain with one particular goal to spend some days in Bilbao for the Guggenheim Museum there. Our hotel was across the street from the museum and on this morning, I was up early to shoot the museum and its various elements. I had previously noticed how the lighting from below accentuated to bronze structure and gives it a dramatic contrast against the dark sky. Probably the only thing challenging was to manage the shutter shake from the A7r by clamping down hard on the tripod. By then, Sony had been able to mute the problem with firmware updates.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor