Do Not Abandon Me is a collaboration between Louise Bourgeois and Tracey Emin consisting of sixteen intimate works made over the past two years. These drawings articulate physical drives and feelings, candidly confronting themes of identity, sexuality and the fear of loss and abandonment through joint expression.
This series originated with Bourgeois, who began the works by painting male and female torsos in profile on paper, mixing red, blue and black gouache pigments with water to create delicate and fluid silhouettes. Bourgeois then passed the images on to Emin, who later confessed: ‘I carried the images around the world with me from Australia to France, but I was too scared to touch them’. Emin overlaid Bourgeois’s forms with fantasy, drawing smaller figures that engaged with the torsos like Lilliputian lovers, enacting the body’s desires and anxieties. In one, a woman kisses an erect phallus; in another, a small fetus-like form protrudes from a swollen belly. In many, Emin’s handwriting inscribes the images with a narrative, putting into words the emotions expressed in Bourgeois’s vibrant gouaches.
This suite of prints was one of the last projects Louise Bourgeois completed before her death. They were then printed at Dye-namix studio in New York with archival dyes on cloth in an edition of 18 sets with 6 artist proofs. The exhibition travels to Hauser & Wirth from Carolina Nitsch Project Room, New York, and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.
A man in the grocery store line today approached me and said, “Sir, when I first saw you I was extremely attracted to you, but then I noticed that you are a boy. How… I mean, why do you dress so provocatively?”
I responded, “Well, in today’s world the majority of the straight male race view women as objects, or something that belongs to them. I dress provocatively because it attracts the attention of men in a sexual and OBJECTIVE way. However, when realized that I am actually male, they often become confused, disgusted, upset or all of the above. By inflicting this minor emotional damaged upon the ego of a man raised by twisted societal gender norms, maybe, just maybe the individual will think twice before viewing another woman with an objective attitude and sense of belonging. No woman, belongs to ANYONE. Male or female, the equality of human beings needs to be a priority. It is something worth dressing up for.”
I AM NOT KIDDING. The woman behind me, the female cashier, the old lady bagging groceries and the woman in front of me who was talking on the phone STOPPED, …. and proceeded to gasp and clap. The man shook my hand, told me to have a blessed day and then said, “excuse me ladies, I need to visit my daughter.”
…. I was shaking by the time I walked out of the store.
- Elliott Alexzander