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Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns

STATES OF AR T

The torment of Bourgeois TEXT: MATT ANTONIAK

Arachnophobes beware. Standing proud at the entrance to Museum Voorlinden, on the outskirts of The Hague, is a giant 10-metretall spider. This one is not so ‘incy wincy’. The eight-legged creature, Maman, is one of the most famous of French-American artist Louise Bourgeois’ works. It looms tall, acting as gatekeeper to those visiting the artist’s survey exhibition To Unravel a Torment. Made from stainless steel, its spindly line-drawn legs bear the weight of small ribbed body, beneath which lies an egg sac, full of 17 marble eggs resting high in the air. This spider is a mother. Maman is symptomatic of Bourgeois’ interests, with much of her work focused on family, the body, death and the unconscious. Her childhood was troubled, and she would delve into this traumatic well in order to create works.

Seeing art making as a therapeutic process, Bourgeois would explore themes in depth, with a wit and trademark daring that meant she never belonged to a particular movement. She was too real for the Abstract Expressionists, and too existential for the surrealists. Instead, she paved

a unique path that made her one of the 20th century’s artistic icons, and a feminist pioneer. The 40 works of sculpture and painting on show highlight a six-decade long exploration into some of the darker recesses of the human mind. Some works, like Maman, induce an almost physical response to them. However, lurking beneath the surface is something charming. In her own words, the artist “transforms hate into love”. And as the initial horror pales, the warmth and vulnerability of Louise Bourgeois begins to creep and crawl under your skin. To Unravel a Torment is on show at Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, until 5 May 2020.

Louise Bourgeois,To Unravel a Torment. Installation view Museum Voorlinden. Photo: Antoine van Kaam. Glenstone Museum, Potomac, Maryland, Louise Bourgeois © The Easton Foundation/VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY/Pictoright, Amsterdam 2019

Matt Antoniak is a visual artist and writer living and working in Newcastle, UK. He works mainly in painting and drawing and is a founding member of the art collective M I L K.

multiple accolades, including the World’s Best Abbey Pale Ale, at the 2009 World Beer Awards, for its saison. This is a top-fermented, unfiltered beer that undergoes secondary refermentation in the bot-

tle. Consequently, it can look a little cloudy when poured. It is dark amber in colour and rises to a white head. As you’d expect of a dry hopped ale, hoppy notes dominate the aroma, which has a floral undertone. The flavour is intense. Red fruits burst through and it feels hoppy on the tongue; it’s slightly tart, without being overly bitter, reminiscent of a fresh raspberry. As you might expect, this is a refreshing beer to savour after a lengthy walk. It pairs well with hearty, simple food, including British dishes such as pie and mash or cheese and onion pasties.

BEER OF THE MONTH

St Feuillien Saison TEXT & PHOTO: STUART FORSTER

St Feuillien Saison is a Belgian farmhouse ale brewed in Le Rœulx, approximately 50 kilometres southwest of Brussels. Traditionally, this style of beer was brewed in the cooler months of the year for consumption in the summertime by labourers on Wallonian farms. As saison beer was intended to quench workers’ thirsts it tended to be of moderate strength. In recent years, craft brewers across the world have reinterpreted the style and stronger versions have come to market. St Feuillien’s saison is dry hopped and packs more alcohol than standard beers. The St Feuillien Brewery was founded in 1873 by Stéphanie Friart. Five generations on, it remains in the hands of the Friart family, who are members of the Belgian Family Brewers association. The brewery has been presented with 82  |  Issue 74  |  February 2020

Brewer: St Feuillien Alcohol content: 6.5 per cent Stuart Forster was named Journalist of the Year at the 2015, 2016 and 2019 Holland Press Awards. Five generations of his family have been actively involved in the brewing industry.

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Discover Benelux, Issue 74, February 2020