My inspiration for this series of work was a drawing by Louise Bourgeois titled Femme Maison. Ive always found her work inspirational especially her interest in psychoanalysis and how it influenced her art.
The Femme Maison (1946-47) paintings by Louise Borgoise touch upon the problem of identity for women. Here, the heads of nude female figures have been replaced by architectural forms, resulting in a symbolic condensation of the conflict between domestic and sexual roles. For Bourgeois architecture symbolized the social world that attempts to define the individual, in contrast to the inner world of emotion. The tension between figure and architecture mirrors the dichotomy between mind and body. Bourgeois suffered from agoraphobia, and often withdrew into her house for protection. Yet, as Bourgeois wrote, “the security of the lair can also become a trap.”
Borgoise’s paintings accentuated the problems with female identity in the 40’s and 50’s whereby the social architecture of the house was used to mask and almost suffocate the emotional/personal identity. In my series I was interested in how architecture in the present day defines women. The head of the house hold, the owner of the house, the businesswoman, the manager, the CEO. Women’s roles have dramatically altered since the 40’s and this is reflected in the architecture and the mask that is worn.
Whilst creating these new works, I also looked at haute couture, corset design and the works of Lee Bowery and Alexander McQueen. My question was how can I make these buildings wearable, mask-like, skin-like by adopting the mechanics of fashion.