That some of the birds have batteries and clockwork motors attached, presumably to make them jump, is even more disquieting.Stuffed toys are another constant, but there is nothing very cuddly about them lying discarded in funereal piles on the gallery floor, or skewered on the ends of pikes like guillotined heads from the French Revolution.The installation of drawings will be interspersed with smaller drawings of images she has taken off the internet of copulating humans.She recalls typing "amateur photo" (into Google) and adds: "You think that you will find mothers with the family, children, and cats and dogs.A disembowelled toy elephant, a flayed lion, a fluffy lime green paw and a pink ear are just some of the animals and disembodied parts nailed to the wall in a way that implies properties similar to those objects used in black magic or voodoo.Without wanting to get too psychoanalytical about it all, these “part objects” speak, as Melanie Klein might have done, of the lost mother and childhood rage.I comment on my memory of the experience and she points at a comfy-looking bed, saying that is where she likes to read and gain inspiration, most recently from Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, and smoke slim menthol cigarettes.Born in 1943 in Berck, France, Messager elected to study at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, winning the student prize.
Freed from any functional use, objects become unstable – instead of anchoring us in the world, they disrupt our accepted ways of seeing.
Her installations use photography, drawing, knitting, embroidery and text, along with objects she has collected, to challenge fixed definitions of art and the culturally assigned roles of women.
Her work deals with sexual and physical abuse, sin, obsession and fairy tales, by means of “female” materials and techniques such as sewing.
It is the only artistic thing that she allows her two part-time female assistants to do, admitting that she needs silence and solitude to make her work.
The studio will soon be clear, ready for Messager to conjure up new work from her fertile imagination.
Annette Messager lives and works in Malakoff, just outside the Paris Périphérique.