Often when we think of contemporary sculpture we tend to imagine non-figurative works in which the work is combined with empty space and whose interpretation or iconography is not easy for the viewer to understand, in this case they could be some of Chillida's famous works such as the well-known, Los peines del viento. However, in contemporary sculpture we can also find a hyper-realistic current, as realistic as the sharks in formalin presented by Damien Hirst in The physical impossibilities of death in someone alive. The work that concerns us today, Mamam, is situated halfway between these two currents and is the work of the French artist Louise Bourgeois.
Louise Josephinne Bourgeois (1911 – 2010), better known by the nickname of the spider woman due to her sculptural works, has been one of the great sculptural figures of recent years. Her work, which a priori may seem little known, is one of the most coveted by the main museums around the world and spectators and the general public walk among her sculptures on a daily basis.
Louise Bourgeois was born in Paris in 1911 into a modest family with some problems. Her parents ran a tapestry shop in Paris and later dedicated themselves to making tapestries, in reality, it was Bourgeois's mother who made the pieces, aa fact that the artist will later reflect in her works. The instability of her home due to the continuous infidelities of her father led her to study more stable subjects such as mathematics or physics, but when her mother died, the artist decided to abandon her studies for what she had always wanted, to be an artist.
Mamam, is the culmination of her artistic career, the piece that has given her the most fame and a memory of her mother. It is a very large sculpture of a mother spider inside which houses the eggs. The piece is about ten meters high and more than ten and a half meters in diameter, it is made of stainless steel, bronze and the eggs inside are made of whitish marble.
It was precisely at the end of the 1990s that the artist began to use the iconography of the spider to represent her own mother figure. The spider that weaves the web He refers us to his own mother as a tapestry weaver but also to a mother who cares for her children, who attends to them, a mother who preserves the cycle of life, which is why Louise Bourgeois' spider carries her own eggs inside her.
The gigantic sculpture has been exhibited in multiple museums around the world and today we find more than six copies of the sculpture, one of the most representative is the sculpture found in the vicinity of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (Spain) and which today has become, along with the museum, a symbol of the city itself.