In the first room of Louise Bourgeois: The Woven Child – an exhibition looking at the final chapter of the great French-American artist’s career, currently at London’s Hayward Gallery – there stand a set of doors. They are huddled together, forming a small, room-like space. Their surfaces reveal their age. The wood is faded and splintered. Glass panels hold webs of cracks. Inside, arranged on a series of metal armatures and fat, yellow cattle bones, there hang a series of undergarments: slips, shirts, chemises. The fabrics are feather light against the heavy bones. They betray signs of their storage, crumpled and imprinted with creases from decades of being folded away. On the floor there lurks a watchful metal spider. To one side there sits a model of Bourgeois’ childhood house in Choisy-le-Roi. To the other there is a spiral staircase, threads spooling out from the top and tethering it to these still, white clothes.

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