If you’ve had a chance to visit Ropponggi Hills, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a big spider like sculpture in the middle of the courtyard. It has 8 tall legs and has a sac under her belly, which carries 26 marbles. The landmark is iconic, eye catching and both creepy at the same time. I was curious of what the sculpture is and who created it was, but I didn’t have a chance to look around for any information on site. I soon forgotten about it.

One day, I was watching a National Geographic TV show on Guggenheim Bilboa and noticed that it has a similar sculpture erected outside the building. How on earth two similar sculptures can exist half way around the globe apart from each other? It must be one important art.

Indeed it is. The 30 feet sculpture, title ‘Maman,’ is the creation of the late Louise Bourgeois, who is considered one of the most important sculptor of our time. Louise Bourgeois recently pass on May 31st, 2010. The feminist artist is known for her figurative sculptures often inspired by traumatic events of her childhood; the death of her mother and the discovery that her governess has a double duty as her father’s mistress. Phallus and headless female torsos are a recurring theme in her work, but she is the most well known for her spider casts. The spider lady is what they call her.

Bourgeois had titled her spider sculptures’Maman‘, French for mother, as it is an ode to hers. Describing her mother as her inspiration for ‘Maman,’ she said:

“She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver… Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences… spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.” Source: Telegraph

There are 7 of ‘Maman’ around the world. Other than the one in Roppongi and Bilboa, a bronze ‘Maman’ can be found in St. Peterburg, Korea, Havana and Ottawa. The one owned by Tate Modern, London is a bit special since it is the only one which was casted out of stainless steel.

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