philadelphia

Louise Bourgeois

The Fabric Workshop and Museum

Louise Bourgeois combined her sculptural installation with a performance piece—her first in 24 years—each of which depended on the same themes and motifs. Both were entitled, She Lost It, 1992, and worked with a brief text. As is often the case in this artist’s oeuvre, the message was feminist in tone but delivered in the form of a children’s story: “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.”

Certain implications of the little story are clear: that a woman is like a child; that she is considered to be, and conditioned to be, dependent on a man—of diminished presence without him; that a woman alone cannot make a go of it, and has no importance. Further, that a man

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