Annette Messager (1943) is a French artist who creates installation using photographs, prints, drawings, textiles, and found objects; exploring themes such as memory, childhood, loss and nostalgia. Other motifs include issues of sexual or mental abuse, disguise and distortion, the fragmentation of the body, and fairy tales. All of her work is creating using traditionally feminine materials and methods, evoking the domesticity, repression, but also power of womanhood.
Collecting as a form of Self Identification
When naming and titling her work, Messager often gives herself labels of recognition. In her early years, Messager carried a dual personality – for works created at home in her bedroom collecting together photographs, objects, and information, she was “Annette Messager, Collector”. And for the works made in her studio, she was “Annette Messager, Artist”. Other monikers Messager has used over the years include “the trickster”, “the handy-woman”, “the peddler”, and “the liar”. Of these titles, Messager says that “They are titles of nobility that I have earned. They protect me from the time that passes by, from the outside, from you. It is like a collection of titles. Collecting is a form of protection, a way of fighting against death.”