Annette Messager

(b. 1943)

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(1943– )

French artist and collector (her preferred description), born at Berck-sur-Mer. She studied at the École des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Influenced by the turbulent political atmosphere of the time, she aimed to create an art which would challenge artistic hierarchies. This led Messager to make work that incorporated everyday objects but also to making feminist art that examined the standards of beauty imposed by society on women. Mes jalousies (1972) looked at plastic surgery by means of photographs of the face inscribed with markings which prematurely aged them. Les Pensionnares (1972) is a collection of dead birds, each given a woollen knitted coat. This was Messager's comment on the constraints laid on women. In later years Messager has made some of the most spectacular and absorbing of installation works. She sometimes evokes childhood with assemblies of toys. Casino (2005), seen at the Venice Biennale, was a large red sheet which was made to rise and fall like a wave by means of a wind machine.

Further Reading

A. Messager, The Messengers (2007)A. Riding, ‘Annette Messager: a bold messenger for feminist art’, International Herald Tribune (26 June 2007)

Subjects: Art.

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