20; plus an edition of 12 with no hand additions and 1 P.P., and an illustrated book edition of 12
"painted study 4/20" verso.
In the edition of 20 impressions with hand additions, each is designated by the artist as a “study”. (Usually in this catalogue, the term “study” describes photocopies and tracings that were used in the process of developing a composition.) Twelve of the 20 studies are illustrated in the Evolving Composition Diagram.
The hand additions on the impression numbered 18/20 (not illustrated) closely resemble those seen on 20/20, seen in the Evolving Composition Diagram.
The hand additions on impressions numbered 12, 14-17, and 19 (not illustrated) closely resemble those seen on impression 13/20, seen in the Evolving Composition Diagram.
A separate edition of this composition was published as part of the illustrated book "One's Sleep". The illustrated book includes 18 plates with hand additions. (See Evolving Composition Diagram.)
State Changes and Additions:
Changes from version 1: composition mirrored in transfer to new plate in etching; tower greatly elongated.
Version 1 of this composition was initially developed in 1989 in conjunction with Benjamin Shiff, director of Osiris, as a preliminary trial for the book project "the puritan" (see below in Related Works in the Catalogue) although it did not ultimately appear in that book. Bourgeois and Shiff returned to the composition in 2003, creating a second version to issue in separate editions and include in the book "One's Sleep".
"This is a warning against ambition. You build something like this, but there is no door. You come from down there... and look at your dream. The ambition is amazing."
Bourgeois talked generally about the tall tower: "It is transparent... it shows everything. Then there are the blues.... But it is used to hiding things, also... the process of hiding and of wanting to show complement each other. The glass tower is the demon of ambition. But that height is not reality... if you live at the level of that tower, life has passed you by... you are lost in a dream. You have to love your reality level... you have to love your everyday miserable trivial pursuit. The fun has to be in the running... you run all your life. You must not betray the present just becuase it is unbearable. A sick dog is better than no dog. It is bad, but it could be worse. If you live with this big dream, you will be destroyed... it is not reality." (Quotes cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. “The Prints of Louise Bourgeois.” New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 156.)
The sheet for this composition has been trimmed down to the plate mark and mounted on a board.
The plate dimensions, paper type, and the verso numbering could not be fully documented because this work is not in MoMA's collection and could not be examined in person. The plate dimensions are from the published hand colored impression in MoMA’s Collection. The sheet dimensions and numbering were provided by the Louise Bourgeois Studio.
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