From the 1970s onward, Annette Messager has been a pioneering force in contemporary art in Europe and beyond. Her work has been known for its heterogeneity of form and subject matter, ranging from the personal to the fictional, the social to the universal. Through an embrace of everyday materials, and principles of assemblage, collection and theatrical display, her diverse media have included construction, documents, language, objects, taxidermy, drawings, photographs, fabric, embroidery, image collections, albums, sculpture and immersive installations. Messager has explored fairy tales, mythology and doppelgangers throughout her œuvre. Often using reminiscence and memory as a vehicle for inspiration, Messager's wide range of hybrid forms have an affinity with traditions as varied as the romantic, the grotesque, the absurd, the phantasmagoric.
For me, drawing is a kind of vagabondage. Close to poetry. I can go from an almost joyous drawing to a more tragic one – always affective, emotional.
It’s a dialogue between the petites effigies, very hieratic and upright, some forty little sculptures, that represent us humans… They seem to be observing us, while the highly organic, big elongated drawings play on our bodies, our organs, our fantasies. They seep in and circulate, seeming to disrupt the dignity of these petites effigies, at the same time.
Annette Messager was born in Berk-sur-Mer in 1943. She lives and works in Malakoff, just south of Paris. Messager was awarded the Praemium Imperiale for sculpture in 2016. She won the Golden Lion for best national pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art will present a major exhibition of her work in February 2022. Recently she has exhibited at the Institut Giacometti in Paris (2018), the Institut Valencià Art Modern (IVAM) in Spain (2018), and the Villa Medici in Rome (2017). In France, an important exhibition was put in at the Musée des Beaux-Arts and at the Cité de la Dentelle et de la Mode in Calais, in 2015–16. In 2014 Messager had major exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art MCA, Sydney, and at K21 in Düsseldorf. Earlier solo shows have been exhibited at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Monterrey (MARCO), Mexico (2011); the Hayward Gallery in London (2009); the Espoo Museum of Modern Art (EMMA), Finland (2008); the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea (2008); and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo (2008). A major retrospective of her work was organized by the Centre Pompidou, Paris, in 2007. Important early solo exhibitions in the U.S. were held at PS1, New York and San Francisco MoMA (1981), and at MoMA and LACMA (1995).
Marian Goodman Gallery is delighted to present a solo presentation by Messager at Frieze New York, from May 5-9, 2021.