RED ROOM (CHILD) AND RED ROOM (PARENTS)

Red Room (Parents)

Red Room (Child) and Red Room (Parents), both from 1994, comprise the only pair of Cells in the series. For Bourgeois, the eponymous red color stood for blood, violence and danger, shame, jealousy, malevolence, and guilt. The exteriors of both Red Rooms are composed of discarded doors from a courthouse in Manhattan.

Red Room (Child) houses elements associated with Bourgeois’s childhood: the red and blue spindles and needles, for instance, recall the tapestry workshop run by the Bourgeois family; a pair of child’s hands laid over those of an adult suggest a longing for security; and the two mittens bearing the embroidered words “moi” [me] and “toi” [you] reinforces this desire. Mementos, mysterious objects, spiral shapes, and everyday items combine to create an evocative composition, giving the impression of a psychological character study.,

Compared to Red Room (Child), the space within Red Room (Parents) is more orderly. The bed, a place of closeness and sexuality, is flanked by two marble sculptures of naked torsos partially covered in cloth. A xylophone case and a toy train on the bed recall the presence of a child. In children’s eyes, sexuality is a mystery that is usually concealed. Between the two parents’ pillows the artist placed a third embroidered with “Je t’aime” [Ilove you], just as a child might nestle between its parents.