The
Angry Cat

Louise Bourgeois' The Angry Cat series invites viewers to experience a collection of intimate and emotionally charged drawings and prints. Through recurring motifs and playful visual puns, Bourgeois explores themes of memory, trauma, and humour, opening a door into the complexities of the human psyche.

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Meaning & Analysis

The Angry Cat series, like much of Louise Bourgeois' oeuvre, reflects her recurring imagery and motifs. The female body for instance is seen many times in the series, resonating with deeply personal themes of motherhood, dread, and sexuality. Her drawings are executed with an almost childlike quality, contributing to the series' sense of vulnerability, as though Bourgeois is baring her soul onto the paper. Despite the unsettling subject matter, these prints also reveal a playful spirit, offering a glimpse of Bourgeois' ability to find humour and light in even the grimmest of scenarios.

In The Angry Cat we’re met with a visibly upset cat that’s equally amusing to look at. While initially, we see the cat’s fierce gaze directly set to the viewer, upon closer inspection, this ferocious feline takes a whimsical turn revealing its nose to be a glass of wine.

The Smell Of Feet playfully alludes to sensory experiences and how a smell can evoke memories and past experiences. Bourgeois appropriates this with her perspective, and humorously portrays a pair of feet emitting a scent that stirs up some sort of recall in the head of the subject.

A fascinating transformation of an ordinary pest into a regal, maternal figure is depicted in Mosquito. Though it is not a human body, we see the mosquito mother carrying her offspring in this drawing. While this hints at Bourgeois’ continuation of themes surrounding motherhood and the body, it also exemplifies the artist's ability to infuse significance into something like a mosquito. The artist's deep connection with spiders, often seen as the symbol of her mother, is contrasted by her choice to portray the mosquito as a motherly figure. This raises questions about Bourgeois' relationships with these insects and the underlying experiences she associates with them.

Moreover, these drawings offer a profound insight into Bourgeois' method of navigating the human psyche. Beyond merely exploring vulnerability and trauma, she views these emotions through a lens of humour and playfulness, imbuing her artwork with a sense of complexity and nuance.

The Angry Cat series serves as a powerful reflection of the multi-layered human experience. Louise Bourgeois' expressive yet simple visual language invites viewers to contemplate the intricacies of human relationships, motherhood, vulnerability, and self-identity. These drawings stand as a testament to Bourgeois' profound grasp of the human psyche, masterfully conveying difficult feelings through seemingly unassuming yet evocative imagery.

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