The title piece of the show, Passage Dangeroux (1997), is a huge cage-like structure holding different “rooms” of found and sculptural objects representing memories of her childhood as well as the feminine psyche and psychological trauma. Unfortunately this impressive piece felt dwarfed by the large hall, I think it would have been more effective if it felt more closed in, in a smaller space.
My favorite piece in the show was, Untitled (1996), an installation of sheer garments hanging from giant bones casting ever-so-slightly moving shadows on the floor. The delicacy of human life seemed suspended here. On my second visit to the show I noticed newly formed spider webs and a piece of blond hair hanging from the garments. These unintentional additions were so eloquent.
In addition to Bourgeois sculptures there are two wings of her 2-D work. One holds many rooms filled with framed fabric pages of the book Ode à l'Oubli (Ode to Forgetfulness) (2002), sewn with patterns and text.
The other displays large scale etchings from the series À L'infini (2008). These look like watercolors depicting converging lines which represent thread. This thread is so significant because her mother was a seamstress and she associates her with the spider. The red colors invoke human organs and makes one think of the mother spinning the web of life.
Bourgeois long career involved her in many movements, such as surrealism, abstract expressionism and feminist art. She was one of the first female artists to be recognized and show with the other big names in museums. Her life and work paved the way for many woman artists as well as installation art, and her genuinely personal approach to art making has never wavered.