For Your Imagination

Cultural Pairings – for adults

Summer is here and we hope you will all be reading lots.

But we wanted to give you something a little different: a cultural proposal for the grown-ups in the room. (Yes, because we always think in terms of being in the same room together, even though the internet is this distant, impersonal thing.)

Some people pair wines. Others pair chocolate. We pair cultural events.

Here’s what we’ve put together this time:

Louise Bourgeois & Pablo Picasso – Anatomies of Desire

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Umbilical Cord, Louise Bourgeois. (Photo credit: designbote) I find this sculpture so touching. The fragility of the baby in the womb is so well represented and the woman doesn’t even have arms to protect her child – further emphasising her vulnerability.

Where: Hauser & Wirth, Limmatstrasse 270, 8005 Zürich

When: until 14 Sep 2019

Perfect for a heatwave. Some serious air-conditioning and it’s free. Just make sure to put your bags in the lockers at the door. While you’re there, you can take a stroll to the other galleries in the building and have some ice tea at the ground floor café. (If you’ve come to see this, you’ve left the kids at home, so enjoy that me time.)

Louis Bourgeois’ work has captivated me for a long time. To look at her work is to question what it means to have a female body. What pretensions does the world have over that body? How does that body expect in terms of pain and pleasure? How does that body (and sexuality generally) inform whom we are?

Roxanne Gay – Openair Literature Festival

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Roxanne Gay (Photo credit: Joe Mazza)

Where: Old Botanical Gardens

When: 13 July 2019

Also, heatwave friendly. Magical outdoor setting in a garden and with a nice little bar.

Roxanne Gay’s writing is brave and raw. I was drawn to her book Hunger by my desire to understand what it’s like to go through the world in a body that looks very different from my own. (I’ve always been a very tiny person.) For friends of mine, the book was powerful because of its portrayal of bodies that are large and often shamed. Either way, it is a book that makes you very aware of your own flesh and all that comes with it, especially if you are a woman – power games, danger, norms and constraints, judgments. 

Why do these two pair up nicely?

Both are about the female body, sexuality and trauma. Both are incredibly strong women with a unique voice that is a little before their time.

Important note: StoryLabs is very much about children’s literature and programming, but this time our recommendations are for adults only. Neither of these events are appropriate for children.

But we’re not going to leave you in the lurch when it comes to your kiddies.

Here are some great books you can read with them that approach some of the same topics as these adult events, but in a child-friendly light.

The Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois

By Amy Novesky with gorgeous illustration by the inimitable Isabelle Arsenault


The Heart and the Bottle

Written and illustrated by the formidable Oliver Jeffers

About healing after great loss. (I’ve given this book to plenty of adults as a gift.)

OliverJeffers HeartAndBottle

You can pair your kids’ books with the beautiful Hauser & Wirth exhibit catalogue (55 CHF) and Roxanne Gay’s Hunger. lowres jpg 72dpi H W Louise and Pablo 030

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