Dismemberment, 1994Louise Bourgeois

Dismemberment, 1994

Drypoint and roulette, on smooth Somerset wove
Signed and numbered from the edition of 44
Fourth and final state
Printed by Harlan & Weaver, New York
Published by Peter Blum Edition, New York
Plate: 17.6 × 12.6 cm (6.9 × 4.9 in)
Sheet: 52 × 37.7 cm (20.5 × 14.8 in)

'This is a self-portrait as a helpless, defenceless woman. She has no arms... she is like the harmless women in sculpture. The protecting hand has been cut off. Maybe women are just poor creatures... there is always the fear of being inadequate... of not being able to take care of oneself. It is a permanent feeling. There is the need to defend oneself... then she would be afraid for the children. I always felt that I could not defend myself because I could not understand what motivates people... I still feel that way.'

'There is always someone to trick her... someone always wins. This is the desperate art of self-defence.... But even if someone cut her, she would not lose her dignity... she would still stand there in full self-assurance. She tries to put herself back together through her beauty... through her hair. You can land on your feet if you are beautiful... see the breasts, hair, high heels. If you can please men and not be guilty about it... you have it made... that's it.'

Excerpt from MoMA catalogue entry No. 652/IV