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ssohail's picture


Question: how many guys see the hooked dangler Fillette and instinctively shield their own crotches? MOMA should get a poll going.

Louise Bourgeois is well-known for causing varying degrees of anatomical discomfort with her disturbingly real looking latex covered sculptures. In Fillette, a title that translates to “little girl”, Bourgeois creates a dual symbol for virile energy and total vulnerability. Don’t get me wrong…it’s definitely longer than your average penis (2 feet long, for all those wondering), but it’s pretty amusing when you see it dangling in the middle of nowhere with a name like Fillette. The name diminishes the penile prowess, making it seem nothing more than a soft, naked piece of flesh that seems to quiver all on it’s own. Bourgeois herself said, “From a sexual point of view, I consider the masculine attributes to be very delicate.” ‘Nuff said, Louise.

So it’s obviously a giant penis, but critics have also pointed out the gender ambiguity in the work…some say it looks like a woman’s torso with a severed head. Eek. Others say it looks like a clown wearing a huge overcoat with big, rounded boots sticking out. Obviously this second set of critics must’ve just finished reading Stephen King’s IT. Not sure which interpretation is spookier.

Some say that Bourgeois had vindictive reasons for making Fillette, because all throughout her childhood she’d seen her daddy involved in an overt affair with the nanny, while her ma sat helplessly by. Is this vengeance on daddy-not-so-dearest? Could the work be symbolic of her (astute) suspicions regarding the male species? Can’t be exactly sure, but in Robert Mapplethorpe’s famous photo of her, Louise looks pretty darn happy with Fillette tucked under her arm like a baguette or a stylish clutch.