Louise Bourgeois Cell XXV Analysis

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Cell XXV (The View of the World of the Jealous Wife) By Louise Bourgeois.

An example of a work of art that I believe exemplifies the best of contemporary practice is Cell XXV (The View of the World of the Jealous wife), a sculpture by artist Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010).

The sculpture was made in 2001 by the artist as part of her Cell series. The sculpture itself features three figures, each of them headless, armless and legless and each of them female. The three figures are encased in a prison cell, or birdcage-like structure. On the floor are two large white marble spheres. Hanging between these two is a mannequin wearing a white dress, on one side, hanging slightly higher, another torso with just a neck and bust, wears flowery fabric,
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Much of Bourgeois' work revolved around her own personal feelings towards her childhood and the ongoing affair that her father had with her childhood nanny and it would not be difficult to see how this piece could represent the anger felt by the wife- her mother- towards both her fathers mistress (the figure in white in the centre perhaps) and towards him, being represented by the implied phallus constructed by the spheres and the white figure. The white figure and spheres can also be looked at as a simultaneous depiction of both the father and his mistress with the 'Jealous Wife' and perhaps the artist herself depicted as the short torso, looking upon them both with hatred. The clothing worn by the figures seems to be of importance too. The figure in the middle wears white, as does the short torso, a colour typically used symbolically in clothing to depict innocence and purity as with wedding dresses and communion dresses etc, and yet here it seems to have been used with irony, perhaps the artist laughing at the thought of the people depicted in this sculpture being deemed innocent. The figure in the blue dress stands out in comparison and is black in colour as well to contrast further the all white of it's companions. This figure is clearly an outsider, a disapproving observer of what it is witnessing. Despite its separation from the other figures in the sculpture however, all three are enclosed together in this cell and closed off from the rest of the world. They remain frighteningly still and trapped. Perhaps this is a comment on how isolated Bourgeois felt from the rest of the world in her youth. Perhaps it is a comment by the artist on how she felt her fathers affair took over her whole

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