SWAN Day Video – Famke Janssen

Famke Janssen Speaks to Women Artists for SWAN Day 2010
Running Time: 5 minutes

Famke Janssen Discusses Louise Bourgeois & SWAN Day

In this special video for SWAN Day 2010, film and television star Famke Janssen explains why sculptor Louise Bourgeois is her favorite woman artist and shares her thoughts about the challenges of being a woman artist and the importance of SWAN Day.

About Famke Janssen

Famke Janssen played the super-hero Dr. Jean Grey/Phoenix in the blockbuster film trilogy X-Men (2000), X2 (2003), and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). In 1995 she played opposite Pierce Brosnan in the James Bond film GoldenEye. She has had leading roles in the movies Lord of Illusions, The Faculty, House on Haunted Hill, I Spy, Rounders, Deep Rising, Hide and Seek, and Taken. She has also had a prominent role in the popular TV show, Nip/Tuck.

Originally from the Netherlands, Janssen moved to the U.S. in the 1980s and attended Columbia University, majoring in literature. In January 2008 she was appointed a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. She has also been active in campaigns for animal rights.

About Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois is recognized as one of the leading sculptors of the 20th century, and her work is in the collections of most major museums around the world. Born in Paris in 1911, she moved to the U.S. in 1938 and now resides in New York, where she continues to make art. Her early sculptures were often carved from wood, but by the 1960s she began to make larger pieces from rubber, bronze, and stone.

Family relationships are often central themes in Bourgeois’ work. One of her most famous works is Maman (Mother), a 30 foot tall steel sculpture of a spider with a sac of marble eggs. Bourgeois has said:

“The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.”

Our video includes still photos of the following works by Louise Bourgeois: Maman, Arch of Hysteria, Blind Man’s Bluff, Spider (1997), and The Destruction of the Father. It also includes a 1970 photo of Bourgeois with her marble sculpture, Eye to Eye, and a photo of her taken by Annie Leibovitz in 1990.

A film called Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine was released in 2008, and you can hear Bourgeois speak in the trailer on YouTube by clicking here>> The DVD was released in June 2009.

You can watch a YouTube video that shows many views of Maman at the Tate Modern in London DVD by clicking here>>

Video Credits
Director:   Jacqui Barcos
Cinematographer:  Patricia Van Over
Special thanks to Suzanne Lezotte, Phil Radin and Panavision Woodland Hills for their generous support!