“To be an artist, you need to exist in a world of silence. ”
— Louise Bourgeois
It is difficult to define this quote by one of my favorite artists, Louise Bourgeois, because she is speaking to more of a feeling you have to live in in order to know. I saw her exhibit for the first-time last year at MOMA in New York. What struck me about her work was her curiosity. There were large, floor-to-ceiling pencil drawings of leaves. Tiny stick figure drawings of her making love with her husband. Tie-dyed printed fabrics sewn into a book of memories. A full-sized, solid gold man, suspended in air, back arched, as if he was being drawn toward the heavens from his loins. And also the most gruesome of spider sculptures. There is no theme to her life’s work, just exploration and commentary on each moment she found herself in. If you were to view one piece of her work outside of her exhibit, you may not know it is hers, that is the mystery of Louise.
And what she mentions about being an artist and existing in silence is true. Silence is a space where one seeks nothing and is also not sought. Where there is no direction and no clear path. Where there may only be darkness and your own loneliness to accompany you. A world of silence is to not be influenced by anything or anyone but yourself. It is to sit truly in your own company and have a conversation. That is when the real answers come, and it is also when more questions about existence emerge. It can be hard to exist in silence because simplicity is not a state many can fully embrace. Still, if you truly want to know the power of your own creativity you must go there.