One of the most senior artists in the ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ exhibition, Louise Bourgeois had a long and influential career. Born in Paris, she studied under cubist artist André Lhote in the 1930s before moving to New York in 1938. She experimented with many ideas associated with the 20th-century European and North American avant-gardes but always maintained an individual and unique approach, foregrounding her own subjective experience and personal history. Her psychologically charged works often have an autobiographical character, with references to childhood as well as to the human body.
Untitled 2001 belongs to a group of fabric sculptures that Bourgeois completed around the turn of the millennium. The stacked, tower-like form of the work relates to vertical wooden structures that the artist created nearly 60 years earlier, and also to the towers she constructed in 2000 as the inaugural commission for the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall series. Fabrics have been an important material for Bourgeois and have recurred in her practice for many decades, in two-dimensional works and in sculpture. Bourgeois’s father ran a tapestry workshop and she collected fabrics and garments for over half a century. Typical of many of her fabric works, Untitled 2001 contrasts a rigorously formal composition with the deeply personal memories and stories embedded in the material.