Louise Bourgeois exhibition installation view

View of the Louise Bourgeois exhibition
© Sam Drake

Louise Bourgeois’s remarkable career spans almost seven decades: she was born in Paris in 1911 and moved to New York in 1938, where she continues to live and work. This retrospective exhibition includes key sculptures, drawings, paintings and prints from throughout her working life, giving close insight into her extraordinary vision.

Since the late 1940s Bourgeois has focused on three-dimensional works, expanding the definitions of sculpture through the exploration of a wide range of materials and forms, from traditional chiselled marble to the all-encompassing installations or environments which she calls the ‘cells’. She has also maintained a lifelong discipline of recording her thoughts and ideas in drawings and in writing. 

Much of Bourgeois’s work is motivated by her exploration of personal memories and the expression of psychological states of trauma and anxiety. Though the sources of her imagery are autobiographical, her powerful sculptures also communicate universal concerns and emotions.

Bourgeois’s development is marked by several phases. The exhibition is therefore arranged broadly chronologically, with distinct groupings of works made at the same time or with similar materials or methods.

The final room, Room 10, acts as a kind of ‘cabinet of curiosities’ containing small sculptures and drawings which Bourgeois has made over the course of sixty years.