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Annette Messager

Annette Messager is one of the artist I should really look at: for her feminist works, for the fact that she sews puppets and uses images of the body (as I do in my work), for the fact that her works speaks of death, fears, darkness but in a soft and sweet way (using puppets for example). I found a really interesting interview (source in which Messager is "confessing" the main themes of her research. I have transcribed here below the parts that I found interesting for my research.

"I worked with veils early on. I did a series called Les Voiles (Veils, 1980), small drawings on veils that were covered with several successive veils of color. I have always worked with things that are covered, half hidden, half revealed. In the series entitled Les Piques (Spikes, 1992), there are stockings, hose. I had started working with fish net stockings because they were erotic: all those women who do striptease.  In the Les Piques series, I started using transparent things. I had bought fish net stockings, but they had too much of a sexual connotation that I no longer desired. I wanted an opacity which conveyed terror, such as the masks that criminals pull over their faces, or policemen ... It was at this point that I started looking for nets."

Annette Messager, Les Piques, 1992-93

Stitches, netting, knitting, embroidery and meshes. They are all in my vocabulary. I have written on walls, these writings are difficult, if impossible to read; they are like knitted fabrics, meshes.

(A. Messager)

 "The idea of home it is not necessarily the feminine domestic side that interests me. Rather it is the side of the home which is a microcosm, a world in reduction. Let's say that the image of a real home has an attic, all those things that are buried or repressed, like memory in the brain. There is also television, events that enter the home each day, that are interned. I think that what I make is, in fact, very linked to this encapsulation, this isolation".

"I have always used materials that were in the home, colored crayons, cloth, stockings, nets, sewing material, newspaper clippings, everything that arrives into the home and stays."

"I come from a specific generation of artists, but let's say by using the kinds of timeless materials-cloth, paper, crayons-that are not directly linked to today's technologies, I am interested in transcending a certain temporality. I would love to work with video, but somehow I feel incapable of using that kind of material today. I would like to use video as easily as I use a pencil."

"I saw some books on Bellmer when I was small. Those images are part of me. I am very close to Bellmer's doll universe. In my work the colored crayon becomes a weapon, it is pointed. I stab with it; it keeps the formal aspect of the pretty colored pencil but is lethal, deadly."

"I think that when an artist sees an object, he sees an object that is loaded symbolically but he also sees it visually, formally."

Annette Messager, The Vow, 1988

"For me a work of art is directly linked to the secret. Art is like a secret, an epigraph. It is literally cut out of life. We must not try to show too much, to divulge everything, to unveil too much. We must give some small clues, even unnecessary clues. Art is a secret shared between the individual and the collective."

"Pornography is about images that are repeated, saturated. Images of the human body, not nature. What I find in pornography is precisely the repetition of the same: the cliché of pornography. There can be no real transgression, just an image that repeats itself."

"Love is still one of the most essential things in life. It can be found in making little dresses for stuffed birds, or in a garden of tenderness like I have done  for Le jardin du tendre, 1988 , mixing writing, photography and real spaces. There are all kinds of acts of love.

"I have a side of me which is very modest and another side of me which is immodest. Shameful Annette Messager, shameless Annette Messager. As in each individual, there is the side that reveals, discloses things and a side that hides, conceals. I have always believed that somehow the less we reveal the more the other desires to see"

Annette Messager, Articulated-disarticulated, 2001-2002.


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