By layering latex over plaster, Bourgeois achieved a fleshy, tactile texture in this hanging sculpture. While it most obviously represents a phallus, the work can also be seen as a female torso, as the title suggests; in this reading, the two round forms are the tops of two legs, attaching to their hip joints. This eliding of genders creates ambiguity, as do the work’s dual qualities of erect potency and fragile vulnerability. "From a sexual point of view," Bourgeois said, "I consider the masculine attributes to be very delicate."
Gallery label from Exquisite Corpses: Drawing and Disfiguration, March 14–July 9, 2012.
"Everything I loved had the shape of people around me—the shape of my husband, the shape of the children," Bourgeois said. "So when I wanted to represent something I love, I obviously represented a little penis." The title of the work, however, lends it ambiguity. In the 1960s Bourgeois began constructing hanging sculptures and using a variety of materialshere plaster and latexto create organic, fleshy sculptures that recall the human body.
Gallery label from From the Collection: 1960-69, March 26, 2016 - March 12, 2017.