Museum Exhibition Catalogues, Monographs, Artist's Projects, Curatorial Writings and Essays
Annette Messager, born in France in 1943, has been working since the 1960s and showing since the 1970s. Her portfolio includes painting, embroidery, sculpture, assemblage, collage, film montage and writing. She says of her work that, "Conceptual art interests me in the same way as the art of the insane, astrology, and religious art. It's not the ideologies which these areas perpetuate [that] interest me: they are for me, above all else, repertories of forms. I make fun of sorcery and alchemy even if I make full use of their signs."
For her new project Interdictions, Annette Messager (born 1943) has drawn a series of pictograms forbidding various acts, taken from real-life examples found on the Internet or while traveling. Through her artistic manipulation, Messager invites the viewer to reconsider these signs as social markers.
Published by Editions Xavier Barral. Text by Norman Spinrad.
Documenting an installation of the same name, Continents Noir continues Annette Messager’s (born 1943) sculptural evocations of unconscious energies and abject objecthood. The title evokes both Freud’s famous definition of the unconscious (the “dark continent”) and Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, in which Gulliver reaches an island that travels in the air. Messager’s installation consists of black, agglomerated, wrapped objects and architectural forms suspended from the ceiling. As if born from the eerie metaphysics of de Chirico, these fossilized “islands” appear to have descended from some remote galaxy. Other components of Continents Noir include floor fans animating suspended figures that are outlined in women’s dresses, pieces of fabric and wigs; and the wrapped figures of birds, mice and geometric forms, arranged in enigmatic relations. Alongside reproductions of all the works, American sci-fi author Norman Spinrad contributes an essay on Messager’s island worlds and objects.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Annette Messager.
In the early 1970s, Annette Messager (born 1943) began collecting photographs from magazines, collating them into the groundbreaking series of 81 photographs known as Voluntary Tortures. These black-and-white photographs depict women undergoing various kinds of cosmetic procedures: breasts being shoveled into suction pads, thighs massaged with electricity, face peelings and more extreme kinds of plastic surgery. The images are often comical, but mostly--as the title proposes--hideous and disturbing. The bizarre contraptions deployed, the awkward positions of the subjects and their coerced body parts grimly articulate the submission of individual physique to social norm. Messager recently rediscovered the prints of this important, pioneering work of feminist art in her studio, making possible their first-ever publication in this large, handsome, slipcased volume, which reproduces the entire series at its original size. The artist discusses the creation of the series in an accompanying essay.
Annette Messager (born 1943) loves to create her own badges. In 2009, she exhibited them at the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York, on black strings hanging on the walls. In this artist’s book, Messager describes her uses of badges in captions printed along gatefold reproductions of the installation.
Published by D.A.P./Les Presses du Reel. Edited by Marie-Laure Bernadac. Interviews with Harald Szeemann, Robert Storr, Bernard Marcadé and Suzanne Pagé.
Texts and words are of crucial importance to Annette Messager's work--for her, "words are images." And so words--at once autonomous from, parallel to, and the sources of her visual creativity--are woven throughout her production. She has looked directly at our diverse relationships to language in forms ranging from the early scrapbooks of the 1970s to the large sculpted words of the late 1990s, and others including personal diaries, letters, calligraphy, alphabets and primers. She works with the repeated, drawn, framed and sculpted word; newsprint, collage and montage of texts and photographs; and handwritten texts. Plays on words and palindromes turn up in her exhibition titles and, more recently, in her children's books. All of these uses of language stem as much from Dada and Surrealism as from the aesthetics of the banal and the everyday, and they give rise to unclassifiable texts, which call somewhere between a literature of the news item or photo-essay and poetic maxims for personal use. Messager's frequent recourse to copying down and to repetition then serves as a kind of exorcism: in those cases, writing is something like sewing, with a soothing function. The first section of Word for Word focuses on writing in Annette Messager's artworks. The second includes numerous texts published in magazines or catalogues, as well as unpublished notes on her work and personal reflections on art and life. All of her interviews from 1974 to the present are also included.