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Couple

2004
Fabric and stainless steel
61 x 28 x 25.5 cm / 24 x 11 x 10 in
Stainless steel, glass and wood vitrine: 188 x 61 x 61 cm / 74 x 24 x 24 in
Incised into base lower right: LB

Louise Bourgeois’ art inextricably entwines personal experience and artistic expression – the roots of which can be traced to her own life. ‘Couple’ (2004) is an extraordinary fabric sculpture that examines many of the central themes that preoccupied Bourgeois’ visual vocabulary throughout her career. Embracing tightly and intimately, ‘Couple’ presents the muted peach-pink bodies of a nude man and woman engaged in a copulatory act – she straddles his thighs, face-to-face, one’s nose nuzzling the other’s, their arms wrapped around each other.

The Couple

Bourgeois placed the couple on top of a cold and upright steel base, which intensifies the exposed and tender vulnerability that the hand-stitched pair shares. In this childlike sexual theatre, erotic power is depicted realistically, in totally explicit fashion, yet the figures appear bandaged, as if a self-portrait in old age, illness and fragility.

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The Fragile

2007
Edition of 7 + 3 APs
Each: 29.2 x 24.1 cm / 11 1/2 x 9 1/2 in

The Fragile

Emotionally and psychologically striking, ‘The Fragile’ (2007) masterfully captures the intimate and deeply personal themes that occupied Bourgeois throughout her illustrious career, including the often complex and vulnerable relationship between mother and child. ‘The Fragile’ consists of a suite of thirty-six mixed media compositions. The images, a mixture of digital and screen prints created with archival dyes on cream fabric, were used by Bourgeois as a creative springboard to paint or draw over in red or blue dye. Through her innovative process, Bourgeois created a masterwork that is truly unique; it is simultaneously primeval and structured, simple and emotive. Variants of this work are held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Ludwig Museum, Cologne.

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‘Drawings are thought feathers, they are ideas that I seize in mid-flight and put down on paper.’
—Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois

Born in France in 1911, and working in America from 1938 until her death in 2010, Louise Bourgeois is recognized as one of the most important and influential artists of the twentieth century. For over seven decades, Bourgeois’s creative process was fueled by an introspective reality, often rooted in cathartic re-visitations of early childhood trauma and frank examinations of female sexuality. The conceptual and stylistic complexity of Bourgeois’s oeuvre plays upon the powers of association, memory, fantasy, and fear.