Press Release

Louise Bourgeois

Tate Modern  Level 4
10 October 2007 – 20 January 2008

In October 2007 Tate Modern will present the first major survey in the UK of the work of the French born artist Louise Bourgeois (born 1911). The exhibition spans seven decades of varied and prolific artistic output ranging from small scale experimental works to large scale installations from the 1980s and 1990s.

Beginning with her earliest drawings, prints and paintings, the show will feature more than 200 works in many different materials, including her most recent works using fabric. The exhibition will include well known pieces, such as The Blind Leading the Blind 1947-49 and Cumul I 1969 and Cell (Eyes and Mirrors) 1989-93.

This exhibition will provide an unprecedented opportunity to reassess her work. Over a long career Bourgeois has worked in dialogue with most of the major international avant-garde artistic movements of the twentieth century, from Surrealism to Abstract Expressionism to Conceptual art, but has always remained uniquely apart, powerfully inventive and often at the forefront of contemporary practice. Engaging in a wide variety of both modern and traditional techniques Bourgeois has explored her themes in a great variety of styles from abstraction to the realism of the ready-made. 

Born in Paris, Louise Bourgeois studied under Léger in the 1930s before moving to New York in 1938. Her first exhibition of sculptures was held in New York in 1949. Her 1982 solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York was the museum’s first ever retrospective of a female artist, revealing a sculptor of immense distinction working with a complex variety of materials which included marble, bronze, latex, fabric and mirrors. In 2000, her vast installation, I Do, I Undo, I Redo, was the first commission in The Unilever Series for Tate Modern.

The exhibition is curated by Frances Morris, Head of Collections (International Art) Tate Modern, Marie-Laure Bernadac, Curator, Louvre and Jonas Storsve, Curator, Centre Pompidou, with assistance from Ann Coxon, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern. It is organised by Tate Modern in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou, Paris. The exhibition will tour to Centre Pompidou in Spring  2008, The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York in Summer 2008,Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art in Autumn 2008 and the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. in Spring 2009.

It will be accompanied by an ambitious publication providing an overview of Bourgeois, not only as an influential creator of sculpture, installation, drawing and printmaking but also as a writer, critic and diarist.  It will include items from 39 contributors and unpublished material by Bourgeois. The catalogue will also feature an illustrated biography as well as a full chronology.