Of all beings on earth, after birds, I prefer trees. Flowers that have grown and grown; not content to defy beauty, they defy the storms of time. They seem to embody the best of what humans desire. ‘Topiary IV’* is a tree-woman, the perfect anti-siren. Instead of exchanging the lower half of her body for a fish-tail dreaming of fresh water, the tree-woman knows that one day her legs will fail; she will need a crutch before dying. But she keeps the lower half of her body as it was; she even dresses it, with the satin dress of a young girl blossoming into puberty—and adds a proliferating head. Her sap has risen to the top and, defoliated though she now is, this tree-woman can seduce nonetheless through the tufts of jewels put forth from the tips of her branches. … The artist is man or woman—but certain women artists easily attain the psychic plasticity that transforms their ageing body into a blossoming tree. … The trunk and branches may be dry, but the thing proliferates nonetheless, ascends, ramifies, buds—not in juicy flavours, but in emerald jewels. The seduction of crystallization.
Julia Kristeva, Louise Bourgeois: From Little Pea to Runaway Girl
Cited as epitaph to Elaine P. Miller, Head Cases (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014), 7.
*Topiary IV by Bourgeois