Bourgeois considered Articulated Lair (1986) the first of her Cells, although she did not use the term until 1991. Unlike many of the later Cells, Articulated Lair could originally be entered and exited through two separate doors. A “lair” describes an animal’s nest or cave, a concealed or protective space. Metal panels define a circular space, whose dimensions may vary. In the center a solitary black stool stands surrounded by black rubber objects hanging from the ceiling.
From the outside, the viewer can peer into the interior of this Cell from different vantage points through the gaps between the panels. Despite this voyeuristic aspect, Bourgeois understood Articulated Lair as a refuge: “The lair is a protected place you can enter to take refuge. And it has a back door through which you can escape. Otherwise it’s not a lair. A lair is not a trap.”