The phrase scratched on this print alludes to a story about a medieval king of France. According to Bourgeois, "This is a famous quote... every French schoolchild knows it... it refers to Hugues [Hugh] Capet. In the tenth century, at the Battle of Poitiers, Capet fought against the Moors who threatened to invade France as they had invaded Spain. Hugues Capet was defended by his son. His son would say, 'Father, watch out on the right—on the left—' Such devotion is very rare.
"I have converted this to 'Child, protect yourself: beware of the triangle.' The father is at the top of the triangle, playing one against the other... it is a power play... everyone in the triangle practices ferocity.
"I have an obsession with the triangle... it is an emotional problem. Everyone wants exclusive love and devotion... but that does not exist. As bad as the balance of the triangle is, and as bad as the power game is, it is better than the ultimatum which says: 'If you don't love me exclusively, I will commit suicide.' " (Quotes cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. “The Prints of Louise Bourgeois.” New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 142.)
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