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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: COMPLETE BOOKS & PRINTS

Louise Bourgeois: Complete Books & Prints
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Cat. No. 350a-354a

The Laws of Nature

Date:
2003
Author:
Paulo Herkenhoff
Themes:
Figures
Techniques:
Drypoint
Description:
Illustrated book with 5 drypoints, with selective wiping
Support:
Slightly textured, wove Gangolf Ulbricht, Berlin, paper for wrapper, title page, text page, and colophon; smooth, wove Gangolf Ulbricht, Berlin, paper for plates.
Dimensions:
page: 8 11/16 x 9 3/8" (22 x 23.8 cm)
Signature:
"Louise Bourgeois" lower left colophon, pencil.
"Paulo Herkenhoff" lower right colophon, pencil.
"Louise Bourgeois 2003" lower right margin, each plate, pencil.
Publisher:
Harlan & Weaver, New York
Printer:
Harlan & Weaver, New York
Edition:
25; plus 8 A.P., 6 P.P., 2 H.C., 1 B.A.T., 1 T.P., and an edition on fabric of 10 with 3 A.P., 2 P.P.
Impression:
"a.p. 6/8" lower center colophon, pencil, unknown hand; "a.p. 6/8" lower left margin plates, pencil, unknown hand
Edition Information:
Outside the published illustrated book editions on paper (2003) and on fabric (2006), there are several additional unpublished but signed formats: a series on fabric, printed in black, in 2 known examples; a series on fabric, printed in red, in 1 known example; and a series printed on a scarf, with plates in a different order, printed in black. (See Related Works in the Catalogue, below.) The states of the plates within the various series sometimes differ from the states of the plates within the published editions.

There are also two sets of plates, printed in red, with no signatures. One set, from c. 2003, is on silk; the other, from c. 2006, is on paper. Since the prints in these sets have no signatures, the sets are not considered to be completed series.
Pagination:
8 unnumbered sheets: title, text, 5 plates, colophon
Printer of Text:
The Grenfell Press, New York
Housing:
Unbound. Slightly textured, wove paper wrapper. Publisher's clamshell box: navy blue (with letterpress name and title plate), made by Claudia Cohen Bookbinder, Seattle.
Background:
The artist told printer Felix Harlan that the figures in this series are playing an adult version of a French children's game, known as "faire des galipettes," meaning to do somersaults. In fact, the expression "faire des galipettes" is also slang for having sex, a punning reference that Bourgeois must have enjoyed.
Installation Remarks:
Installation should include all plates, displayed sequentially.
Curatorial Remarks:
The colophon notes that the essay by Paulo Herkenhoff was edited by Thyrza Goodeve.

A documentation sheet sent to MoMA from Harlan & Weaver in 2013 notes that there are 2 H.C. impressions and 1 T.P. included in the overall edition. These impressions are not noted in the edition information provided on the colophon.

In contrast to the designation "illustrated book," which contains text, this catalogue designates as a "series" those instances where there is no text accompanying a group of related plates.
Author Information:
Paulo Herkenhoff is a Brazilian curator and critic who had a longstanding friendship, and professional relationship, with Bourgeois.
MoMA Credit Line:
Gift of the artist
MoMA Accession Number:
541.2005.1-5
This Work in Other Collections:
Tate Modern, London

From the illustrated book

View All
  • Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 1 of 5, from the illustrated book, The Laws of Nature. 2003
    Untitled, plate 1 of 5, from the...
    State VIII of IX
    2003
    Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 1 of 5, from the illustrated book, The Laws of Nature. 2003
  • Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 2 of 5, from the illustrated book, The Laws of Nature. 2003
    Untitled, plate 2 of 5, from the...
    State IX of X
    2003
    Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 2 of 5, from the illustrated book, The Laws of Nature. 2003
  • Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 3 of 5, from the illustrated book, The Laws of Nature. 2003
    Untitled, plate 3 of 5, from the...
    State IX of X
    2003
    Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 3 of 5, from the illustrated book, The Laws of Nature. 2003
  • Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 4 of 5, from the illustrated book, The Laws of Nature. 2003
    Untitled, plate 4 of 5, from the...
    State VI of VII
    2003
    Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 4 of 5, from the illustrated book, The Laws of Nature. 2003
  • Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 5 of 5, from the illustrated book, The Laws of Nature. 2003
    Untitled, plate 5 of 5, from the...
    State IV of V
    2003
    Louise Bourgeois. Untitled, plate 5 of 5, from the illustrated book, The Laws of Nature. 2003

Paulo Herkenhoff,

Notes on the Laws of Nature,

2003

Desire challenges the laws of nature. It defies the rules of anatomy, gravity, time, and language. In the encounter between the body and desire, muscles and tissues gain elasticity and tonus, migrating beyond the logic of corporeal boundaries. Body language is the utterance of the unspeakable.

There is silence in desire. In the melody of the pas de deux, the bodies write themselves. One is inscribed in the other. The dance of desire is the calligraphy of seduction.

The language of the body is a topological choreography similar to a Moebius strip, where the actual continuity of One and the Other is a surface without inside and outside. What estrangement is possible? Fusion fears separation while phantoms anticipate it, leading lovers to melancholic fantasies of incorporation. It is the eve of loss. One body nourishes while one is nourished.

A print is the memory of the body of the Other in our body. The act of turning a page reiterates the action of lightly touching the Other. The dance of love passes through our fingers. Closing this book is wrapping the body in the memory of a precious moment.

Desire wants no end. Lovers experience suspended time. Amor fugit. The only fragile defense against time is the poetical belief in the imaginary quality of love as being eternal. The lovers hold each other and will not be separated. At the end, the world is totally upside-down.