Louise Bourgeois

Fillette (Sweeter Version)

1968–99, cast 2001

On display at Tate Modern

Latex over plaster
Object: 570 (+ 133 mm hanging ring) x 286 x 170 mm

Lent from a private collection 2014
On long term loan

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The title of this phallic sculpture means ‘little girl’, an ironic disjunction of word and object. Bourgeois has talked about this work in relation to her experiences as a wife, and a mother to three boys, which led her to see masculinity as far more vulnerable than she had imagined. ‘From a sexual point of view I consider the masculine attributes to be extremely delicate’, she explained. ‘They’re objects that the woman, myself, must protect.’ The photographer Robert Mapplethorpe famously portrayed Bourgeois with a version of this work tucked playfully under her arm.

Gallery label, October 2016