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Louise Bourgeois
Louise Bourgeois in Florence

22 June—20 October 2024
Museo Del Novecento and Museo Degli Innocenti, Florence, Italy

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Museo Novecento is pleased to announce the project Louise Bourgeois in Florence, which will open to the public from 22 June to 20 October 2024. Two exceptional exhibitions – the first one at Museo Novecento Do Not Abandon Me and the other at Museo degli Innocenti Cell XVIII (Portrait). The project brings the works of Louise Bourgeois (Paris, 1911 – New York, 2010) to Florence for the first time, building a significant relationship of osmosis between her creations and the exhibition context.

Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of its opening, Museo Novecento thus celebrates Louise Bourgeois as one of the absolute protagonists of 20th and 21st century art with the exhibition Do Not Abandon Me, curated by Philip Larratt-Smith and Sergio Risaliti in collaboration with The Easton Foundation. Conceived in close dialogue with the architecture of the former Leopoldine building, a complex with a strong social vocation run for centuries by all-female communities, the exhibition will give the opportunity to experience almost one hundred works by the artist. These will include many gouaches made during the last five years of Bourgeois’s life, that explore the cycles of life through an iconography of sexuality, procreation, birth, motherhood, feeding, dependency, the couple, the family unit, and flowers. The exhibition also presents sculptures of various sizes, in fabric, bronze, marble and other materials, as well as Spider Couple (2003), one of the most famous and emblematic creations of the artist, and one of her remarkable Cell.

For this special occasion, the collaboration with Istituto degli Innocenti will be revived. Founded in 1419 as a hospital with the specific purpose of welcoming children deprived of family care in an environment marked by high artistic and architectural value, the Institute has never interrupted its original mission, and is known for pioneering innovations for the care of the youngest children. In the complex designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, the Museum spaces will host Cell XVIII (Portrait), a work of strong visual impact in powerful resonance with the history and collection of the Innocenti, chosen by Philip Larratt-Smith in dialogue with Arabella Natalini, director of the Museo degli Innocenti, and Stefania Rispoli, curator of the Museo Novecento.

The exhibition Do Not Abandon Me will occupy almost the entirety of the former Leopoldine building, between the galleries on the ground and first floors. The exhibition’s title refers to Bourgeois’s powerful and lifelong fear of abandonment, which here relates to the mother-child dyad that sets the pattern for all future relationships. Motherhood and all its discontents was central to Bourgeois’s conception of herself. At the same time, as old age made her frailer and more dependent upon others, there was an unconscious shift towards the mother in her late work.