9; plus an edition of 6 with slight or no hand additions, and an illustrated book edition of 12
"5/9" verso, lower center sheet, pencil, artist's hand.
In the edition of 9 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.)
The edition of 6 impressions includes subtle hand additions on two of the six impressions. Furthermore, two of the six diptych impressions are mounted on one panel per diptych, as opposed to 2 panels per diptych.
A separate edition of this composition was published as part of an illustrated book titled, "One's Sleep." The illustrated book includes 18 plates with hand additions. (See Evolving Composition Diagram.)
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 impressions with hand additions, and also impressions for inclusion in the book, “One’s Sleep.”
In reference to the left plate: "This is reality... this is the everyday. The subject is trivial... they are just like little onions. But it gives pleasure to look at... it holds together. They relate harmoniously like seeds... they are an aggregate... like a society of members that holds together. The society can be self-supporting and independent.... This is about seeing coherence, poetry, and a satisfying quality on the everyday level."
In reference to the right plate: "Sleeping means retiring from the rat race. She has no eyes... there is a refusal to face up. It is an ego that wants to forget ambition and the miserable state of dealing with people... it is completely unsure of itself. There is a desperate effort to cope... it retires from the energy necessary for coping. But one has a right to retreat when one is hurting... to be in retreat is a time to recover... it is wonderful.
There is a self-sufficiency here... there is nothing demanding. This is a very modest view of things... it goes together with the seeds in 'Swaying' [left plate]. This takes its support from the base; the seeds in 'Swaying' take support from the ceiling." (Quotes cited in Wye, Deborah and Carol Smith. “The Prints of Louise Bourgeois.” New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1994, pp. 153-54.)
The sheets for these compositions have been trimmed down to the plate mark and mounted on boards.
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