This is one of 5 unique variants that incorporate this plate, printed alone or in combination with other plates in multi-panel works. When the plate is printed alone, the work is included in the Evolving Composition Diagram. When it is printed with other plates, it is included in Related Works in the Catalogue.
See Evolving Composition Diagram: "Extreme Tension" Untitled, no. 1 of 11, from the series, "Extreme Tension" "Ce N'est Pas Ta Faute"
See Related Works in the Catalogue: "Don't Swallow Me!" "À Qui la Faute"
"Extreme Tension" was not issued as a published edition. There are 2 known cancellation proofs, each with a large "X" drawn across the composition from each corner of the plate.
Benjamin Shiff, the director of the Osiris imprint, 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.
This composition is one of 11 that constitute a single work of art. All of these compositions are to be exhibited together and in the indicated sequence.
The paper type could not be documented because this impression is not in MoMA's Collection and could not be examined in person. The plate dimensions are from the impression in MoMA’s Collection. The overall sheet dimensions were provided by the Louise Bourgeois Studio.
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou
The fragments of text inscribed within this series originated as parts of a longer text written by the artist c. 1959. Those fragments are recorded below by panel. Following the fragments is the original text.
No. 1: Extreme Tension
No. 2: My scalp forehead ears The base of the skull
No. 3: Back of the neck The back between the shoulder blades The base of the ribs Solar plexus
No. 4: The stomach The esophagus The throat
No. 5: The intestines The rectum
No. 6: The arms forearms hands fingers
No. 7: The legs thighs ankles toes The pelvis bones The joints
No. 8: The pains and cramps
No. 9: The breathing The palpitations The hot flashes
No. 10: The perspiration extreme extreme tension
No. 11: The smell of the hunted animal
Original Text: scalp the forehead the ears the base of the skull the back of the neck the back between the shoulder blades the base of the ribs -- the solar plexus -- the stomach the esophagus the throat -- the intestines -- the anus the pelvis bones the joints the legs thighs ankle toes the arms forearms and hands the breathing the tr [sic] the palpitations the hot flashes the pains -- the cramps -- the sweaty smell of the stalked animal extreme tension skunk very little is known as to the when chow, chow mein one day, localize mum
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