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Louise Bourgeois, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. She Lost It (detail), 1992. Acid dye on China silk. 72 x 20 inches (182.88 x 50.8 cm). Edition of 150. Photo credit: Aaron Igler. Louise Bourgeois, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. She Lost It (installation view),1992. Pigment on cotton voile. 19 x 1,978.5 x 8 inches (48.26 x 5,025.39 x 20.32 cm). Edition of 6. Photo credit: Will Brown. Louise Bourgeois, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Fears, 1992. Wood and iron. 30 inches (76.2 cm) (diameter). Collection of the artist. Photo credit: Will Brown.
Louise Bourgeois, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. She Lost It (detail), 1992. Acid dye on China silk. 72 x 20 inches (182.88 x 50.8 cm). Edition of 150. Photo credit: Aaron Igler.
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Louise Bourgeois, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. She Lost It (installation view),1992. Pigment on cotton voile. 19 x 1,978.5 x 8 inches (48.26 x 5,025.39 x 20.32 cm). Edition of 6. Photo credit: Will Brown.
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Louise Bourgeois, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Fears, 1992. Wood and iron. 30 inches (76.2 cm) (diameter). Collection of the artist. Photo credit: Will Brown.
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Louise Bourgeois

In 1991, the FWM invited Louise Bourgeois to participate in an exhibition of artist designed scarves. Inspired by the vastness of the 75-foot long print tables in the FWM’s studio, Bourgeois decided to make a “scarf” of enormous proportion that would eventually wrap the walls of a spiral exhibition space in much the same way a scarf wraps around a neck.
 
Bourgeois selected a story that she had written in 1947 to print in red pigment on white cotton voile:
A man and a woman lived together. On one evening he did not come back from work. And she waited. She kept on waiting and she grew littler and littler. Later, a neighbor stopped by out of friendship and there he found her, in the armchair, the size of a pea.
 
For the installation of She Lost It, Bourgeois placed a sculpture—a wooden ball with metal shackle, inscribed with the word “Fears”—midway through the spiral exhibition space. Circling through the gallery, one reaches the end of the story and the end of the spiral at the same time, which adds to the psychological poignancy of the installation’s themes of love, loss, abandonment, and fear.
 
Printed on cotton gauze, another version of She Lost It was used for a one-time performance held at the FWM in 1992. Choreographed by the artist, the performance began with models (staff members and friends of the artist) parading across the stage to Contemporary dance music wearing slips and undergarments embroidered with text written by Bourgeois. A figure enshrouded in the gauze “scarf” came onto the stage, and with the assistance of the models, his shroud was slowly unwrapped so that it could be read by the audience before being rewound around an embracing couple. At the performance’s end, the couple stood wrapped in the narrative, and the original figure was revealed as a man holding a pea in his hand.

Bio
American, born France 1911.
Louise Bourgeois was born in Paris, and grew up working in her family’s tapestry restoration shop. She studied art at many schools in Paris before immigrating to the United States in 1938, continuing her studies at the Art Students League of New York. Over fifty years, Bourgeois has established herself as one of the twentieth century’s most accomplished and acclaimed sculptors, one of the few women of her generation to gain international attention. In her work, she has consistently experimented with a range of media (rubber, stone, bronze, wood, fabric) to symbolically explore themes of a personal nature—desire, loss, cruelty, memory, sexuality, and love. Bourgeois had her first individual exhibition in New York in 1945 (Bertha Schaefer Gallery), and since that time has had hundreds of one-person exhibitions. In 1982, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, organized a retrospective exhibition that traveled to venues throughout the United States, and in 1993, she represented the U.S. at the Venice Biennale. Bourgeois has been recognized with eight honorary doctoral awards, and in 1999 she received the Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale.