Louise Bourgeois: Room 6

Louise Bourgeois Amoeba 1963–5

Louise Bourgeois Amoeba 1963–5Bronze, painted white, wall piece 

Tate © Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois The Destruction of the Father 1974

Louise Bourgeois The Destruction of the Father 1974Plaster, latex, wood, fabric and red light

Courtesy Cheim & Read, Galerie Karsten Greve and Galerie Hauser & Wirth © Louise Bourgeois Photo: Rafael Lobato

Louise Bourgeois Hanging Janus with Jacket 1968

Louise Bourgeois Hanging Janus with Jacket 1968Bronze, dark and polished patina, hanging piece 

Courtesy Cheim & Read, Galerie Karsten Greve and Galerie Hauser & Wirth © Louise Bourgeois Photo: Christopher Burke

Louise Bourgeois Janus in Leather Jacket 1968

Louise Bourgeois Janus in Leather Jacket 1968Bronze, dark and polished patina, hanging piece 

Courtesy Cheim & Read, Galerie Karsten Greve and Galerie Hauser & Wirth © Louise Bourgeois Photo: Christopher Burke

Louise Bourgeois Janus 1968

Louise Bourgeois Janus 1968Bronze, dark and polished patina, hanging piece

Courtesy Cheim & Read, Galerie Karsten Greve and Galerie Hauser & Wirth © Louise Bourgeois Photo: Christopher Burke 

During the later 1960 Bourgeois produced a number of sculptures made from plaster and latex: materials which can be shaped in liquid form and then left to harden. As Bourgeois explained ‘Some materials are fine for the pinning down of ideas, but they are not permanent, and they do not take a satisfactory surface. However, all the shapes have in common the fact that originally they were poured, and could only be obtained through that process’. The amorphous, organic and ‘soft’ qualities of these works symbolise growth, fecundity and germination.

The bulbous forms of the plaster and latex sculpture called Avenza were used as a basis for later, more ambitious works, such as The Destruction of the Father 1974, also shown in this room. This is the first self-enclosed environment or installation Bourgeois created. The bulbous abscesses used in earlier works are now encased in a box and dramatised by a red light, giving a very claustrophobic effect; as in the theatre, you can only view the work from the front. Here Bourgeois celebrates a childhood fantasy of slaying and consuming her dictatorial father at the supper table.