Annette Messager

© Marie Clerin

Stuffed animals swaddled in knitted garments, mutilated stuffed toys, photographic details of the human body, organs in multi-coloured materials strung from the ceiling and hanging loosely, or embroideries of misogynistic poems, the work of Annette Messager oscillates between fascination and repulsion. Influenced by surrealism and the feminist currents of the seventies, Messager creates an imaginary world that is as grotesque as it is fantastic, exploring the secret world of childhood, sexual identity, but also the role of women in a man’s world. Her work stems from personal experience and daily life and is part of the quest by artists and writers of the 1970s for “individual mythologies”. “An artist is made to transgress,” she says, and her works – which question the everyday, the unspoken, fears and fantasies – evoke transgression while provoking both smiles and a sense of unease.

Born in 1943, Annette Messager studied at the École des Arts Décoratifs de Paris. In 1970, she assembled her first Collections, extracts from family albums and phrases from newspapers that she annotated and modified. She presented this work three years later. Since then, her works have been presented in many contemporary art museums throughout the world (the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, MoMA in New York, Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, etc.) and she has become a major figure of the international scene. She represented France at the 2005 Venice Biennale, where she obtained a Lion d’Or for her work Casino.


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