Thursday, May 2, 2013

Art Critque 2

Louise Bourgeois
Champfleurette, the white cat, 1994
Drypoint with etching and aquatint
18 -1/2"x 25"
            “Champfleurette, the white cat” by Louise Bourgeois is drypoint with etching and aquatint. It stands 18 and half inches high by 25 inches.  It depicts a white cat in a room with only one window.  I will say that I use the term cat very loosely.  The figure has the ears of the cat, and the tail of a cat, the whiskers, of a cat and paws, but the mane of a lion.  But the figure’s face is a simplistic human face, but the more human feature of the figure is it’s high heels.   This white cat figure’s back is arched it’s buttock is in the air. Backdrop is a barren room. Which isn’t proportional or in perspective to the white cat.  The walls are shaded from a light gray on the right to an almost black on the left corner of the room. The widow is on the right wall, but I can’t see anything out of the window. The ceiling is whiteish-cream color all the way across.
The figure is surreal.  The figure is combination between a feline and a human with the body part in different proportions.  The buttock is bulbous, as are the thighs.  But the legs are tiny in comparison.  The backdrop and the figure don’t seem to interact very much.  The figure doesn’t seem to be on the floor, or really interact with the backdrop. Also, the backdrop has dimension that the figure doesn’t have.  Take for example the window on the right wall.  It first makes the lines into a very obvious room, not just a box.  It also gives a light source that the wall vaguely follows, but the figure does not.  This forces the figure to stick out even more. 
After writing that description, I notice how strangely sexual the pose of the figure is.    It’s back is arched, and legs up into the air and the face below the buttock area.  Especially after the fact that the buttock is the largest part of the figure, it find that the pose is reminiscent of “doggy style”.  Which might a joke on the fact that it is cat.  Since this was 1994, the word “pussy” was in common vernacular, which might be read as a double entendre.  But the tail is not a ready position.  It is down over the buttock area.
Notice that I have referred to the figure as an “it” or “figure’”, since there is a contradiction in the figure.  First, as I have commented on before, it is wearing high heels.  Which is a socially constructed as a female piece of clothing.  In fact, I would say one the quintessentially female piece of the clothing outside the bra.  While a mane is only on a male lion.  This again the quintessentially male deviation from the genders in the lion specie.  But the room doesn’t lend the figure to any gender, which heightens the surrealistic quality of the figure.  
While the find this piece to be visually interesting,  I find that the ceiling detracting from the figure and backdrop juxtaposition.

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