‘The spider – why the spider? Because my best friend was my mother
and she was deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, 
indispensable, neat, and as useful as a spider… 
I shall never tire of representing her.’ -  Louise Bourgeois L’araignée et les tapisseries


Spider, 2003 Stainless steel and tapestry

15 June – 26 July 2014

"Hauser & Wirth Zürich is pleased to announce an important solo presentation of works by Louise Bourgeois. This exhibition is the most comprehensive overview of Bourgeois’s tapestry works to date, including previously unseen pieces made between 1996 and 2008. Comprised of almost 30 works, and with important loans from private collections, this is the first time that Bourgeois’s tapestry oeuvre has been brought together, offering a new perspective on her late practice.  

The materials and techniques related to tapestry weaving are profoundly connected to Bourgeois’s childhood experiences. Bourgeois’s mother and maternal grandparents originated from the French town of Aubusson, famed for its tapestry industry. Her parents owned a gallery in Paris where her father sold antique tapestries, while her mother ran the tapestry restoration workshop in Choisy-le-Roi and, later, in Antony. Bourgeois’s incorporation of tapestry into her wider practice draws on personal memories of working alongside her mother in the workshop. Nowhere is her maternal relationship explored in more depth than in Bourgeois’s spider and tapestry works.  

For Bourgeois, the process of making art was a means of working through personal trauma, transmitting and expelling emotion into her artistic materials. Her work allowed for a process of unraveling the unconscious in an attempt to discover the origins of her feelings. Towards the end of her life, Bourgeois’s oeuvre became consumed with exploring her relationship with her mother, replacing a prior preoccupation with her father. The persistent cutting and destructive impulses present in her earlier works dissipated in favour of themes of reparation and construction. Consequently, Bourgeois gravitated towards the familiar techniques from her childhood – stitching, weaving and embroidery – to process her feelings towards her mother."