Documentation was available from the Louise Bourgeois Studio for 2 bound examples of “One’s Sleep”: numbers 1 and 3. No documentation is available for the other bound or unbound examples, as of 2016 cataloguing.
The colophons found in books 1 and 3 differ with regard to Edition and Publisher. Book 1: Edition: “Ten bound books / Two unbound folio sets” Publisher: “Designed and published by Benjamin Shiff”
Book 3: Edition: “Nine bound books / Three unbound folio sets” (Publisher’s notes, not included on the colophon, numbers the books 1-9 and I-III) Publisher: “Published by Osiris”
The pagination in books 1 and 3 differ in that book 1 includes an additional blank spread before pp. 9-10 (with plates 1 and 2). Otherwise, the plates used and the order in which they appear is consistent in each. (See individual books)
Hand additions to the plates in books 1 and 3 vary considerably.
There is also a separate edition of 10 published 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.) These impressions are numbered 1/10-10/10; each is mounted on tan board and each includes hand additions.
There are 4 known variant impressions outside both editions: two from 1989; one from 1989-1993 with hand additions; and one from 2003 numbered “1/1” that does not include hand additions.
Pages 15 and 16 of 41.
Printer of Text:
Wild Carrot Letterpress, Hadley, MA
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 additional impressions to include in this book, and to issue in a separate edition.
Shiff collaborated with Bourgeois in a highly experimental phase of printmaking that occupied the last years of her life, from 2005 to 2010. He first established a working relationship with the artist in the 1990s, but the late period is particularly noteworthy for the innovative and complex large-scale projects that evolved at that time. Shiff made use of professional workshops for printing, but he oversaw the creation of the printing plates as Bourgeois worked on them in her home studio. He also provided assistance as she added extensive hand additions and texts, and as she combined individual compositions into multi-panel works and illustrated books.
"I tried to give validity to that transparent building... I tried to make it more real by putting it in a setting. There is a moon... there are shadows... it has reality... it is not a dream." Then, as if addressing the building on the left, she said, "You found a friend. You think you're ambitious... look at the other building!" (Quotes cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. "The Prints of Louise Bourgeois." New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 157.)
The slightly heavier, blurred effect of the shadow lines in the lower composition is achieved by retroussage printing, where the inked lines of a plate are wiped to draw up more ink to the edges.
The hand additions on this plate could not be documented because this book is not in MoMA's Collection and could not be examined in person.
Bourgeois's entire printed text for this volume appears on the pages cited below. The text is consistent throughout the documented books, although the page numbers vary slightly.
Cover: One's Sleep [artist’s hand]
Text 1: LOUISE BOURGEOIS
Text 2: one's sleep
Text 3 (with plate 1): The blue fear.
Text 4 (with plate 2): The pink fear.
Text 5: I need sleep.
Text 6 (with plate 3): The comfort object, always present,
Text 7 (with plate 4): the color blue, the child. the circling of children.
Text 8 (with plate 5): I need sleep.
Text 9 (with plate 6): To listen to the breathing, to my stomach, to my intestines. I want to listen to them, to expose them, to think about them, to welcome them, to wait for them, to take care of them, like a good rested mother.
Text 10 (with plate 7 and 8): Sleep to reach peace, the restoration of silence and of peace. The defenses are worthless, they do not exist. Kindliness, healthy breathing, forgetting and forgiving, to let go.
Text 11: Leniency and charity are necessary for the arrival of sleep. I want to give, to exude, to give to give, to exude.
Text 12 (with plate 9): My sleep is disturbed. The house of fear. Apprehension. I fear the future, but I am also afraid of the past. Yes even the past, but also the present. I am afraid of others, but mostly of myself.
Text 13 (with plate 10): The fear to waste one's time, the fear to waste one's luck, the fear of the past; nostalgia.
The fear of the present, the fear to love, the fear of the future; apprehension.
Text 14 (with plate 11): The ransom, the cost, the effect of fear on others. The fear that does not know itself. Unaware and aware.
Text 15 (with plate 12 and 13): The underground life of fear, what it becomes.
Text 16 (with plate 14): The fear and the sugar, the adrenaline. To have the energy and persistence to replace fear by trust.
Text 17 (with plate 15): I'm going to wait until my breathing goes down and gets regularized, to yawn,
Text 18 (with plate 16): to do one's nails, to comb the hair, to mend, to draw, to write one's journal.
Text 19 (with plate 17): One's sleep.
Text 20: To lose one's way, to lose one's friend, to lose one's breath.
Text 21: To love.
Text 22 (with plate 18): Leave the house of fear, the window is open.
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