Trauma and Intimacy: Transcultural Bodies and Performative Memory in Louise Bourgeois’ "Cells"

Carla Subrizi


A cycle of works that Louise Bourgeois titled Cells, created between the late eighties and the nineties and defined as environments or installations, help us define what I believe to be a fundamental aspect of the reflection on memory specifically pertaining to its transgenerational character. Within this framework, my contribution underlines a specific aspect: the memory and the trauma these works and images tell are referable not to an event within history but to a genealogy of pain or of the psychical wound as Louise Bourgeois intended them. I’ll refer to these images and their function with the term “bridge image,” which refers to when an image becomes a vessel, a story to be told, between individuals or situations that distantly and differently share similar elements.

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