Monday, March 7, 2011

a favorite: Annette Messager's sweatered birds

image via VVORK

The installation art by contemporary French artist Annette Messager, is, without a doubt, intriguing. However, her 1972 piece titled "Mes pensionnaires"("My Borders") is one of my all time favorite art works ever. Yes, it is a collection of dead birds wearing handmade wool sweaters, but there is something so incredibly touching and disturbing about it at the same time that I can't look away.

Here is an excerpt from a great interview with Messager from the "Journal of Contemporary Art" that touches, I think, on the appeal of this artwork for me:
Interviewer: ... "Freud said that toys were the child's first contact with artworks. Your dolls and birds and effigies have a very particular status. "Mes pensionnaires" (My Borders, 1972), your little stuffed birds with wool clothes or "Mes Petites effigies" (My Little Effigies, 1988), stuffed toys attached to the wall with texts, are not toys. You are not working in a nostalgic mode nor in a childlike world....".
Messager: ... "I will place a photo or a word on the doll, a sentimental value which will give more of a charge. I invest the doll with another content, like African voodoo effigies, the kind of emotional charge people usually consider negative, a strong sentimental content. With "Mes petites effigies" ridiculous little dolls somehow become disturbing."

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