This close-up on the final years of Louise Bourgeois’ colourful career demonstrates how she used the past to inform the present in provocative new ways, focusing on her masterful way with fabric and textiles.
In the final years of her career, celebrated sculptor and installation artist Louise Bourgeois revisited the early days of her artistic practice to reaffirm the themes she had been working towards her whole life. Exploring identity, sexuality, family relationships and reparation, she created a psychologically charged collection of works made from domestic textiles. Many of the materials she used were pulled from her own personal history, marking a return to her roots – as a child, Louise Bourgeois grew up around fabric, helping in her family’s tapestry restoration atelier in France.
The exhibition includes many works never seen before in the UK, made between the mid-1990s and concluding around the time of the artist’s death in 2010. Hanging sculptures, fabric heads and fantastical, primarily female, bodies echo the unsettling atmosphere of a fairytale, while the exhibition also includes the artist’s drawings, books, prints and collages that give an insight into her practice.
Striking works such as the artist’s famous imposing Spider (1997) will also be on display. The spider was a powerful metaphor for Bourgeois, representing both the protector and predator, whilst also embodying her mother as a weaver and tapestry restorer and the artist’s own complicated practice. She was particularly mesmerised by the spider’s ability to weave its web from its own body, a striking parallel with her career.