The soft stuffed body ‘looks like a stylized piece of dog poo’ (Strum 2012, p.169) with legs sticking out. The body twisted into itself in such a way in front of a mirror may be a reflection of the artist’s bodily experiences of looking at oneself and feeling like excrement. This bodily rejection of faeces may symbolise the rejection she witnessed and underwent in her childhood and early adulthood (Nixon 2005, p.45-50). Another reasoning behind the body’s shape however may be the body becoming the mental state of the artist as the body twists and tries to detangle or contort itself into these soft tubes of intense feelings. By hanging the body Bourgeois restricts the body’s movement to a single point forcing it to view its own reflection, she says ‘A hanging thing is very helpless’ (Bourgeois in Nixon 2005, p.240). The hanging body is made helpless and unable to escape, in being fixed in front of this large mirror reflecting on this mental state the artist may have found herself in.

Louise Bourgeois imbues her own visual representations of existential experiences, such as suffering, being trapped, needing protection, tenderness, loneliness, sociability and the freedom of unleashed fantasy, with the justification of aesthetic evidence (Crone 2011, p.109).

By placing mirrors within many of the cells Bourgeois emphasises on cellular growth, through mitosis these cells divide sometimes uncontrollably like cancer causing hazardous effects (Strum 2012, p.173), like the intensity of emotions and anxieties growing uncontrollably within the mind. By creating her existential experiences within the visual communication of installation we can visually experience the artist’s sensations of being trapped within oneself and relate to our memories. Unlocking the valves of sensation (Geldzahler in Arya 2012, p.56) with us we can locate internal feelings and anxieties in seeing them being projected in the forms of Cells.

This installation is so powerful and captivating that some of my own work has been inspired and still will be inspired by this piece. It has made me think also about my presentation of my work within my degree show and if I want to have a piece hanging. In hanging a sculptural form, it may add a vulnerability to it, this is something I am really intrigued to explore within my own artistic practice.

3 thoughts on “Cell XXVI

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