Friday, June 4, 2010

June 4/10: Maman

June 4/10: Maman, originally uploaded by susanvg.

This enormous spider stands outside the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. In reading an article about the death of its sculptor, Louise Bourgeois, I discovered that Maman has twin in a number of cities around the world. The original work stands at the Tate Modern in London and is made of steel and marble. The siblings are bronze casts.

Maman II

At 9 metres, she towers over anyone walking near her. According to the artist:
The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. 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.
(See the press release from the Tate Modern)

I initially did not like this mammoth piece, but she has grown on me. And now, I smile when I pass by her.


  1. Very interesting. I have no problem with spiders but the rest of my treats like bug that need to be squished.

  2. What a wonderful way to take a fresh look at your mom. Great photos as well Susan

  3. I've seen AND photographed this! Quite spooky! Thanks for the was a few years back that we visited Ottawa. Wonderful city!

  4. Wow, I would never have thought of comparing my mother to a spider but you do it so beautifully. It shows me how important it is to realized that people, animals and objects can be seen from many perspectives. Thanks to you I don't think I'll ever look at spiders quite the same.

  5. Nice comparison! This sculpture is unbelievable! However I have to say, my arachnophobic daughter would be slightly freaked out by it! :)

  6. The close-up really caught my eye. I think you really captured it well. Then it was nice to see the full view. It truly is an interesting piece. I enjoyed reading all the info about it and your terrific story about your mother. Great shots!

  7. I'm not sure about the artist's comparisons, but I do like the spider sculpture. It would make me smile, too.

  8. I couldn't have thought of spiders as friendly creatures in any way before reading your commentary. The sculpture sure is intriguing.