Press release • March 2023
Annette Messager (b. 1943, Berck-sur-mer, France), working since the beginning of the 1970 ́s, has been hailed as one the most important and influential artists of her generation. She gained international recognition during the 1980’s, showing in major Biennale surveys and international exhibitions. Her works combine a feminist sensibility with a strong link to the strategies and methodologies of Surrealism.
Messager works with ordinary materials to create surreal assemblages staged in a theatrical way. Deliberately subjective, Messager uses reminiscence and memory as a vehicle for inspiration. The use of ‘found objects’, assemblage and intuitive drawing in her artistic approach allows her to create works which refer to influences as varied as Surrealism, Dada, the grotesque, absurd, and the phantasmagoric.
Deeply free, Annette Messager is reluctant to be stuck with any kind of category, and although a part of her work explores the role of female artists and the status of women in contemporary society, her Oeuvre more widely touches on political and complex themes such as gender, identity, freedom and various issues raised by our society that she manages to transform into fables and fictions, blurring the boundaries between reality and imaginary.
Messager has developed a seemingly personal world in which she takes on a range of identities: Collector, Trickster and Practical Woman among others. This provides her the freedom and distance to examine multiple aspects and to unravel the clichés traditionally associated with the dual status of being both a woman and an artist. As a creator of chimeras, lover of word games and hawker of dreams, Messager delights in unnerving the public by immersing them in a world marked by carnival and fairy tales, where familiar things such as everyday objects, soft toys, cloths, photographs of parts of human body, etc. take on supernatural powers.
In “Désirs désordonnés” Annette Messager presents these imaginary narratives through installation, sculptures, drawings, and photos, which merge to offer a diverse, dynamic and rich experience for the viewer.
Rebecca Matthews, director of ARoS, says:
"Messager creates encounters that explore the grotesque, gothic and folkloric. In her works she exaggerates, diminishes and refashions ideas that have been stable, solid, and authoritative to provoke an alternative view from the position of the woman. Visiting “Désirs désordonnés”, the viewer will receive a unique insight into Messager’s aesthetic, which in this year of ARoS surrealisms, will expand the audience’s appreciation for new knowledge, curiosity and inspiration fashioned from the mind of the artist.”
Messager is celebrated in her home country, France. She was recently awarded the Légion d’honneur the most esteemed cultural acknowledgment conferred by the French Head of State. She was awarded the Praemium Imperiale in 2016 by the Japan Art Association in the scupture category for work achievement; and in 2005 at the 51st Venice Biennale she was awarded the Golden Lion of the best national presentation for her installation “Casino” in the French pavilion.
Annette Messager is inspired by female artists such as Louise Nevelson, Eva Hesse, and Louise Bourgeois as well as cinema and literature. Her work often challenges the traditional boundaries between art and life, gender roles and social norms. She has created a style and aesthetic, where she combines objects and photographs with textiles, embroidery and sewing. Although Messager has experimented a wide range of technics and mediums like found objects, photography, textile, embroidery and sewing she has created a singular style and unique aesthetic which she can stretch as easily from large scale immersive installation to smaller and intimate works. Breaking the limits, she explores spaces in every single dimension possible using suspension, walls, and floor as possibilities.
Ellen Langvold, curator at ARoS says:
“Working with a renowned artist like Annette Messager is a great privilege. Few artists challenge their audiences like Messager, and few have had a more liberating influence on younger generations of artists. “Désirs désordonnés” is Messager’s first major survey exhibition in Denmark and will provide an insight into her captivating, intriguing and compelling universe. Specially conceived by the artist, the exhibition will give pride of place to drawing, a technique dear to her heart, with a selection of seventy-six acrylic acrylic paint - drawings from the series Tête-à-tête (2019-2020). Among her recent works, Annette Messager will also present Dessus-Dessous (2019) an installation that revisits the work she created for the French Pavilion at the 2005 Venice Biennale.”
The exhibition is made possible in collaboration with LaM - Lille Métropole Musée d'art moderne, d'art contemporain et d'art brut, Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France, Annette Messager and Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris.
More information on the exhibition can be found here.
Press photos can be freely downloaded from Dropbox when giving due credit.
For additional information, please contact:
Astrid Ildor · email@example.com · (+45) 61 90 49 42