cell the last climb
Past exhibition

Louise Bourgeois. Structures of Existence: The Cells

03.18.2016 - 09.04.2016

“Space does not exist; it is just a metaphor for the structure of our existence.” Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) is one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Working with a wide range of materials and forms, she created a body of work that extended over seven decades.

Over her long career as an artist, Louise Bourgeois developed concepts and formal inventions that later became key positions in contemporary art; these included the use of environmental installation and theatrical formats, and the engagement with psychoanalytic and feminist themes. Both her distinctive sculptural forms and her outstanding drawings and graphic works are second to none. Among the most innovative and sophisticated sculptural works in her extensive oeuvre are the Cells, a series of architectural spaces that deal with a range of emotions. Created over a span of two decades, the Cells present individual microcosms; each is an enclosure that separates the internal from the external world. In these unique spaces, the artist arranged found objects, clothes, furniture, and sculptures to create emotionally charged, theatrical sets.

Including the five precursor works to the Cells that first emerged in 1986 with Articulated Lair, Louise Bourgeois created approximately 60 Cells over the course of her career. This exhibition is the largest overview of this body of work to date.

Cell (The Last Climb), 2008
Steel, glass, rubber, thread and wood
384.8 x 400.1 x 299.7 cm
Collection National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Photo: Christopher Burke
© The Easton Foundation / VEGAP, Madrid

The Exhibition


Cell XXVI, 2003 (detail)
Steel, fabric, aluminum, stainless steel and wood
252.7 x 434.3 x 304.8 cm
Collection Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Netherlands
Photo: Christopher Burke
© The Easton Foundation / VEGAP, Madrid

I Give Everything Away

I Give Everything Away, 2010 (panel 1)
Etching and mixed media on paper, six panels
Panel 1: 152.1 x 180.3 cm
Panel 2: 152.4 x 185.4 cm
Panel 3: 151.8 x 176.9 cm
Panel 4: 151.8 x 177.8 cm
Panel 5: 152.4 x 269.3 cm
Panel 6: 151.8 x 175.3 cm
Private collection, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Christopher Burke
© The Easton Foundation / VEGAP, Madrid


Articulated Lair, 1986
Painted steel, rubber and stool
281.9 x 655.3 x 490.2 cm (variable)
Collection Museum of Modern Art, New York
Photo: Allan Finkelman,
© The Easton Foundation / VEGAP, Madrid

Femme maison

Femme maison, 1994
White marble
11.4 x 31.1 x 6.6 cm
Collection Louise Bourgeois Trust
Photo: Christopher Burke
© The Easton Foundation / VEGAP, Madrid

Passage Dangereux

Passage Dangereux, 1997
Metal, wood, tapestry, rubber, marble, steel, glass, bronze, bones, flax and mirrors
264.2 x 355.6 x 876.3 cm
Private Collection, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Maximilian Geuter
© The Easton Foundation / VEGAP, Madrid

Cell II

Cell II, 1991 (detail)
Painted wood, marble, steel, glass and mirror
210.8 x 152.4 x 152.4 cm
Collection Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Photo: Peter Bellamy
© The Easton Foundation / VEGAP, Madrid

Red Room (Parents)

Red Room (Parents), 1994 (detail)
Wood, metal, rubber, fabric, marble, glass and mirror
247.7 x 426.7 x 424.2 cm
Private Collection, courtesy Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Maximilian Geuter
© The Easton Foundation / VEGAP, Madrid


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Bourgeois, Louise

Paris, 1911 | New York, 2010

1911 Born on December 25. 1923 Begins to help out at her parents’ tapestry workshop. 1932 After earning her baccalauréat, enrolls at the Sorbonne to study mathematics, but later abandons that discipline for art. In subsequent...

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