Dwelling and Public Art: Serra and Bourgeois

In Patricia M. Locke & Rachel McCann (eds.), Merleau-Ponty: Space, Place, Architecture. Athens: Ohio University Press. pp. 258-281 (2015)
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How do permanent artworks installed in public places shape the relations that take place around them? Drawing upon the works of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Luce Irigaray I claim that two public artworks, Richard Serra’s Tilted Spheres (2002-2004) and a bronze casting of Louise Bourgeois’ Maman (1999) work to open up embodied being and to creatively transform reality. Serra’s work reveals an important aspect of public space, that of the space/time of the anonymous body, as well as the ways in which a shared and hence relational embodied perception is necessary for dwelling. Bourgeois’ Maman reveals possibilities for helping us to think out what it might mean to share the same world even as we dwell in different worlds, in a space/time that we cultivate as our own.



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Helen A. Fielding
University of Western Ontario

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