According to Bourgeois, "Attack" represents the darkest mood and "the despair at ever being any better. This is an attack from within and it is an attack from outside. Nobody can help... one has to help oneself... one must pull oneself up by the bootstraps.... There must be a constant attempt to turn chaos into order... a constant search for peace. There is the stressful swing from the suicidal impulses to the relief... to the bath of gratitude. The distance between these opposites is so great... balance is needed."
Buried in the image, Bourgeois sees "a little boat pushed out of balance and, as if the uncontrollable sea is not enough... a sea monster also pushes." In the later state Bourgeois notices "some light creeping in." She imagines a face starting to appear and is reminded of "Greetings: Laughing Monster" (seen in Related Works in the Catalogue below) and its figure with hair "spread like reaching arms.... Here the arms are reaching for help." Abruptly her train of thought moves to children. "Children will not be left behind by dark moods. They must learn to hang on for dear life or they must become self-sufficient." (Quotes cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 53)
In the first half of the 1940s, Bourgeois worked on lithographs at the Art Students League, with master printer Will Barnet (1911-2012) pulling impressions for her. This composition does not resemble the compositions of that time and it is not known if it was also made at the Art Students League.
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