simone rocha collaborates with louise bourgeois on two pairs of earrings
Your chance to hang some artwork from your ears.
Louise Bourgeois has long been an influence on the work of Simone Rocha, there’s much common ground between the two; both explore fragility and strength, darkness and beauty, the sinister and the sublime. Simone first discovered Louise’s work aged 16 in Dublin, at IMMA, at a show of Louise’s hanging tapestries, and Louise’s art has been a constant inspiration since. An underlying current to much of the designer’s work.
As part of Simone Rocha’s autumn/winter 19 collection, shown in London in February, the two united on a proper artist-designer collaboration for the first time. Simone worked with the artist’s estate and gallery, Hauser & Wirth, to create two pairs of earrings based on Louise’s sculptures, and utilising some of Louise’s fabric works in the collection as prints, radiating abstract shapes and tartans and checks.
“The first time I saw her work it felt so personal,” Simone says from New York, where she is launching the earrings at her store in the city. “I just felt like my feelings were down on a page — the words, the colours, the hand stitching. I was really blown away. It was like my teenage diaries. I feel really connected to Louise’s sensitivity to fabrication, the female form and the personal feelings as well as the family connection to textiles. She put a lot of herself into her work, which I also do. I like this level of personal experience going into the work.”
For the collaboration Simone has chosen two works by Louis — Spiral Women and Untitled — both from the artist’s series of hanging sculptures. One a figure of a woman turning into a spiralling, organic, snail-like creature, the other a limp, enigmatic figure. The hanging series itself is a neat and simple idea for an earring, but beneath their formal simplicity these artworks are deeply revealing, Fruedian dramas of feminine sexuality and horror and fantasy, tenderness and terror.
“Hauser & Wirth approached me to work together on a piece that could be made as a limited numbered edition,” Simone says, of how the collaboration came out about. “When we chose Louise Bourgeois as the artist to reference, I was thinking about how I could be inspired by the hanging sculptures and then it came to me the idea of hanging and jewellery hanging off the ears. It was a complete surprise to be asked to collaborate in this way. But a welcome surprise. They really gave me free reign and have been really supportive.”
So Simone, if you could do anything at all with the work of Louise Bourgeois, what would you do? “Hang it in my home.”
The earrings are available from Simone Rocha stores now, at Hauser & Wirth gallery shops in London, Somerset, New York and Los Angeles, and online at hauserwirth.com.