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.