Anatomy

A pioneering artist celebrated for her profound exploration of memory, pain, and the human psyche, Louise Bourgeois’ presents a collection of twelve introspective prints that offer a poignant view of both physical anatomy and the intricate psychology that lies beneath the surface in Anatomy (1990).

Louise Bourgeois Anatomy for sale

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Meaning & Analysis

It’s important to note that the Anatomy series did not start off as a predefined project. Instead, it emerged organically from Bourgeois' application of the printmaking technique, drypoint, with no initial theme in mind. The seamless collaboration between Bourgeois and the esteemed SOLO Impression workshop resulted in a recurring motif of anatomy surfaced, leading to the aptly titled series with prints taking viewers on an immersive journey, quite literally from head to foot.

In Untitled No. 2, Bourgeois presents a pair of watchful eyes concealed by hair, evoking a sense of 'withdrawal' and mystery. Their suspicious gaze symbolises the intensity of the observer and the fear associated with being scrutinised. This print unveils themes of vulnerability and self-consciousness, common threads in Bourgeois' oeuvre. Examining the print, viewers cannot help but wonder about the thoughts concealed within. Bourgeois turns the act of viewing into a dance of curiosity and guardedness, compelling us to question our intentions as we engage with her artwork.

Bourgeois explores the theme of female identity and pride in Untitled No. 4. The depiction of breasts, delicate yet proud, reflects the complexity of femininity and the desire for self-display.  This portrayal of the female body evokes a sense of fragility, acknowledging the vulnerability that women often experience in a society that sometimes objectifies and marginalises them. By presenting the female form with pride, the artist highlights the emotional landscape that women navigate in their pursuit of self-expression and acceptance.

Untitled No. 3 depicts a simple drawing of a braid. The two pieces are visually different, with one section being a lighter shade than the other. While it is clear that the two strands are coming together and are connected, their individual forms are still evident throughout. This print suggests a closer look into the dynamics of human relationships, and the desire to retain agency and independence. Bourgeois metaphorically likens this to the act of creating a braid—a process “making order out of chaos” while maintaining distinct elements. The print's composition reflects the interplay between connection and individuality, resonating with Bourgeois' broader exploration of family, love, and identity.

The Anatomy portfolio exemplifies Bourgeois' thematic and stylistic consistency throughout her career. Her introspective approach, use of drypoint, and evocative symbolism create a deeply personal and emotionally charged body of work. The prints offer viewers an intimate glimpse into the artist's thoughts and emotions, allowing them to connect with the universal human experience of vulnerability, identity, and relationships.

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