Spider Couple, 2003

Though Bourgeois made drawings of the spider as early as the 1940s, it was not until the mid-1990s that this motif was realized in sculptural form. Bourgeois associated the spider with her mother, a tapestry weaver and restorer. She felt her mother, like a spider, was clever, dainty, and fastidious. The two spiders in this piece might be seen as a portrait of the grown artist and her mother, their legs woven together. One of the spider’s legs touches the other as it crosses over it, as if in loving protection.

Bourgeois also associated the spider with her artistic activity: the spider generates its architecture from its own body, much as she produced her work from a physical reaction to her emotions and anxieties:

״Since the fears of the past were connected with the functions of the body, they reappear through
the body. For me, sculpture is the body. My body is my sculpture.״

Louise Bourgeois, SPIDER COUPLE, 2003 Steel 228.6 x 360.7 x 365.8 cm. Private Collection Photo: Christopher Burke, © The Easton Foundation/ Licensed by VAGA, NY

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