Annette Messager (French, b.1943) is known primarily for her installation work, which often incorporates photographs, prints, drawings, and various materials from everyday life. Born in Berck-sur-Mer, she moved to Paris to study at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs before being asked to leave in 1966 because her professors felt she was not engaged in her studies. Her earlier work from the 1970s questioned gender norms and appropriated different personas in oft-controversial works, including close-up photographs of men’s crotches in trousers in The Approaches and a series of misogynistic French proverbs embroidered on cloth in My Collection of Proverbs. In recent years, Messager has explored the whimsical and grotesque fantasies of childhood, frequently incorporating dismembered stuffed animals and limbs into her installations. Her best-known work is her award-winning submission for the Venice Biennale in 2005, Casino, in which a wind machine creates waves and ripples in a large red silk sheet amongst strange creatures and forms. Messager began her successful career with first prize in the Kodak Photography International competition in 1964. Her first major American retrospective was co-organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1995. She has had solo exhibitions at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Buenos Aires in 1999, at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 2004, and a retrospective at the Centre Pompidou. She has exhibited at the Biennale de Paris in 1997; the Documenta VI in 1977 and XI in 2002; the Biennale of Sydney in 1979, 1984, and 1990; the Venice Biennale in 1980, 2003, and 2005; and the Biennale d'Art Contemporain de Lyon in 2000. Messager currently lives and works in Malakoff, France.

Timeline

1962–1966
Studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris

Exhibitions

2006
Transmediale.06 - Smile Machines, AdK - AKADEMIE DER KÜNSTE, Berlin
2005
BIG BANG, Centre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris
2005
51st International Exhibition: Always a Little Further, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice
2005
Fragile, Analix Forever, Geneva
2005
At the Mercy of Others: The Politics of Care, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
2004
L'escalade du désir, Galerie Friedrich, Basel
2004
Annette Messager - Sous Vent, Musée dArt Moderne de la Ville de Paris - MAM/ARC, Paris
2004
Annette Messager - Between You and Me, Museet for samtidskunst, Oslo
2003
Feldforschung, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg
2003
Dreams and Conflicts:The Dictatorship of the Viewer, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice
2003
Phantom der Lust. Visionen des Masochismus in der Kunst, Neue Galerie Graz am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz
2002
Ars Photographica - Fotografie und Künstlerbücher, Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen, Bremen
2002
Peinture et photographie, Gabrielle Salomon – Art Conseil, Paris
2002
Documenta 11, Documenta, Kassel
2002
La part de lautre, Carré d´art - Musée d´art contemporain de Nîmes, Nîmes
2001
The Foksal Gallerys Deposit, The Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw
2000
Tongue in cheek, Deste Foundation, Centre for Contemporary Art, Athens
2000
7. Bienal de La Habana, La Bienal de La Habana, Havana
2000
Raconter des histoires, Gabrielle Salomon – Art Conseil, Paris
2000
Partage d'exotismes / Sharing exoticisms - 5e Biennale de Lyon, La biennale d'art contemporain de Lyon, Lyon
2000
Voilà - Le monde dans la tête, Musée dArt Moderne de la Ville de Paris - MAM/ARC, Paris
2000
Der anagrammatische Körper, ZKM | Museum für Neue Kunst, Karlsruhe
1999
Zeitwenden - Rückblick und Ausblick, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn
1999
Private eye - Crimes & Cases, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin
1999
Annette Messager. DépendanceIndépendance, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg
1998
Private ficcions, Fundación Joan Miró, Barcelona
1997
DependanceIndependance, Gagosian Gallery New York, NY
1996
DependanceIndependance, capcMusee Bordeaux, France