The definitive monograph of Annette Messagers multifaceted oeuvre from immersive installations to intricate taxidermy, now updated in collaboration with the artist. Annette Messagers original use of form and the poetic power of communication place her among Europes leading contemporary artists. Born and raised in northern France where everybody made art, she went to study at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Paris in the early 1960s. There she quickly rejected any hierarchical notion of art form in favor of a freedom of expression inspired initially by Jean Dubuffet and the outsider art he promoted. Since the late 1960s, she has experimented with and combined a wide variety of media, from painting and sculpture to assemblage, photography, film, and embroidery, often culminating in installations of great potency. From her early works playing with fictional autobiography to her commanding, penetrable installations, her work is at once intimate and universal, using familiar objects (toys, fishing nets, gloves) in a manner that challenges us to look at the comforts of our world with fresh eyes. For this monograph, the author has worked closely with the artist to produce a strong, visual work that provides a clear picture of the creative development of a major artist working today. The edition is further enriched by new text and images that analyze the artists recent work, including her installation Casino at the 2005 Venice Biennale, and the exhibition Les Messagers at the Centre Pompidou in 2007. Fully illustrated, including a 34-page introductory portfolio featuring key installations, the book offers a thematically-organized text incorporating first-hand interviews with the artist as well as analyses of the significance of individual works. Completed by a chronology of exhibitions and an extensive bibliography, Annette Messager is a must-read for anyone interested in current artistic developments in Europe.
Catherine Grenier is assistant director at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.