In recent years, Bourgeois has made a number of remarkable sculptures simply using fabric, most of which came from her clothes and household items, and a needle and thread. Her garments, which she has kept for over fifty years, are another form of a diary: they hold memories of people and places.

The stacked fabric towers shown in this room share certain characteristics with the vertical wooden structures Bourgeois had made nearly sixty years ago. The towers are built up from cushion-like blocks made in a variety of fabrics, from simple striped ticking to antique tapestry. Tactile fabrics, such as terry towelling, are also used to create stuffed figures and heads that have an uncanny, macabre quality.

The figurative fabric pieces seem to explore relationships and rights of passage: couples having sex, mothers giving birth, horizontal figures suggesting illness, vulnerability and death. Her attentions seem to have shifted to the universal aspects of human experience.

Louise Bourgeois Untitled 2001

Louise Bourgeois Untitled 2001
Fabric and stainless steel

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

Louise Bourgeois Untitled 2001

Louise Bourgeois Untitled 2001
Tapestry and stainless steel

Private collection
© Louise Bourgeois Photo: Christopher Burke