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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 692-696

Point d'Ironie

Date:
1999
Themes:
Figures, Nature, Objects, Words
Techniques:
Lithography, Other
Description:
Periodical with 2 folded double-sided photolithographs
Support:
Smooth-coated, thin paper
Dimensions:
sheet (each, unfolded): 16 13/16 x 24" (42.7 x 61 cm)
Signature:
Not signed
Publisher:
agnès b., Paris
Edition:
100,000
Impression:
Not numbered
Edition Information:
There is a second example of this periodical in MoMA's Collection (Accession Number: 465.1999.a-b). It is not illustrated, due to its similarity to the impression seen here.
Pagination:
8 unnumbered pages in 2 signatures (sheets folded once and comprising 4 pages)
Background:
"Point d'Ironie" began in 1997 as a conversation between agnès b., the fashion designer, Christian Boltanski, the artist, and Hans-Ulrich Obrist, the curator. It is an artist-designed periodical that functions as half newspaper and half poster. The name refers to a literary convention created by the French writer Alcanter de Brahm at the end of the 19th century. The point d'ironie is a punctuation mark (such as an exclamation point or question mark) employed at the end of phrases to indicate the ironic passages in a text.

For issue no. 14, Bourgeois looked back on the immense archive of photographs from her childhood. The photographs she chose are of the Bièvre River in Antony, an area outside of Paris. The Bourgeois family moved to Antony after World War I, and the artist spent her childhood years there. They chose this location for its proximity to the river, which contained tannin, an important ingredient in the setting of tapestry dyes for the family's tapestry restoration business. The Bièvre River cut across the backyard of the property, which was beautifully planted by Bourgeois's mother and father. In the early 1950s, the Bièvre was filled in.

The 1994 illustrated book "Album" seen in Related Works in the Catalogue below also features Bourgeois's personal photographs and memories of the Bièvre. The artist's relationship to the river and its surrounding gardens is also the story behind the fabric book, "Ode à la Bièvre." The same text seen in "Point d'ironie" was included in the fabric book, with an additional text. The unique fabric book and the 2007 editioned version can both be seen in Related Works in the Catalogue below.

"Le Point d'Ironie," as it is now called, is an ongoing project. Every year, six to eight issues are published in editions of 100,000. It is distributed at no cost in agnès b. boutiques, museums, galleries, bookstores, and theaters across Europe and the U.S.

The photolithographs were printed at the commercial printshop Ro RC, in Belgium. Hans-Ulrich Obrist was the editor in chief for this issue. Carrie Pilto was the managing editor. Special thanks to Brigitte Cornand, a French filmmaker who worked closely with Bourgeois in the last years of her life.
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of agnès b. and Hans-Ulrich Obrist
MoMA Accession Number:
464.1999.1-5

From the illustrated book

View All
  • Louise Bourgeois. Point d'Ironie, cover. 1999
    Point d'Ironie, cover
    Only state
    1999
    Louise Bourgeois. Point d'Ironie, cover. 1999
  • Louise Bourgeois. Point d'Ironie, spread 1 of 3. 1999
    Point d'Ironie, spread 1 of 3
    Only state
    1999
    Louise Bourgeois. Point d'Ironie, spread 1 of 3. 1999
  • Louise Bourgeois. Point d'Ironie, spread 2 of 3. 1999
    Point d'Ironie, spread 2 of 3
    Only state
    1999
    Louise Bourgeois. Point d'Ironie, spread 2 of 3. 1999
  • Louise Bourgeois. Point d'Ironie, spread 3 of 3. 1999
    Point d'Ironie, spread 3 of 3
    Only state
    1999
    Louise Bourgeois. Point d'Ironie, spread 3 of 3. 1999
  • Louise Bourgeois. Point d'Ironie, back cover. 1999
    Point d'Ironie, back cover
    Only state
    1999
    Louise Bourgeois. Point d'Ironie, back cover. 1999