Louise Bourgeois

Practical Approach

Bourgeois used a wide variety of media in her work which was used in typically abstract forms.

She has created works such as a 30 foot spider made of bronze and stainless steel and large wire cages that house materials of domesticity. Before she turned to sculpture her practice was mostly painting and printmaking and throughout her career she still produced drawings and prints along side her practice.

Examples of media used by Bourgeois include

  • Latex
  • Plastic
  • Paint
  • Wood
  • Fabric
  • Bronze
  • Plaster
  • Stainless Steel

louise bourgeo

louise b


Contextual References

In 1982 Bourgeois revealed in an interview that her sculpture in the Museum of Modern Art was an autobiographical piece that reflected the trauma she suffered from an affair that her father had when she was a child. When Bourgeois was 11 years old, her father moved his mistress into the family home as an English tutor. She used this feeling of betrayal and trauma as fuel for her work throughout the years creating disturbing and overtly sexual pieces that reflect psychological pain.


Her work explores themes of childhood, sexuality, trauma and alienation, resulting in provocative pieces that leave the viewer feeling disturbed.

Bourgeois takes the human form and deconstructs, dehumanises and objectifies it.

louise bourgeois

Intentions for Viewer Experience

Bourgeois’ work is said to have an unnerving effect on the viewer, the disturbing and crude explicit imagery of her work creates an uneasy atmosphere, the juxtaposition of childhood and sexual themes creates an off-putting and uncomfortable feeling associated with the pieces.


louise bourge
Seven In a Bed (2001)

The title of the piece plays on children’s nursery rhyme “ten in the bed”. Although there are seven bodies there is ten heads on the figures. The piece juxtaposes childhood nostalgia and explicit scenes of a sexual nature, making the viewer uneasy, as the mix of the themes feels inappropriate. This piece explores Bourgeois’ childhood innocence and reexamines it in the light of adult knowledge and experience. It is made of dyed fabric over stainless steel encased in a glass room. The explicit nature of the work encased in a glass room feels as though the dirty secrets of the people are exposed.


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