Annette Messager, Word for Word: Texts, Writings, and Interviews

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D.A.P., 2006 - Art - 460 pages
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Texts and words are of crucial importance to Annette Messager's work--for her, "words are images." And so words--at once autonomous from, parallel to, and the sources of her visual creativity--are woven throughout her production. She has looked directly at our diverse relationships to language in forms ranging from the early scrapbooks of the 1970s to the large sculpted words of the late 1990s, and others including personal diaries, letters, calligraphy, alphabets and primers. She works with the repeated, drawn, framed and sculpted word; newsprint, collage and montage of texts and photographs; and handwritten texts. Plays on words and palindromes turn up in her exhibition titles and, more recently, in her children's books. All of these uses of language stem as much from Dada and Surrealism as from the aesthetics of the banal and the everyday, and they give rise to unclassifiable texts, which call somewhere between a literature of the news item or photo-essay and poetic maxims for personal use. Messager's frequent recourse to copying down and to repetition then serves as a kind of exorcism: in those cases, writing is something like sewing, with a soothing function. The first section of Word for Wordfocuses on writing in Annette Messager's artworks. The second includes numerous texts published in magazines or catalogues, as well as unpublished notes on her work and personal reflections on art and life. All of her interviews from 1974 to the present are also included.

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Annette Messager: Word For Word

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For French conceptual artist Annette Messager (b. 1943), words are central, and writing is akin to sewing, albeit with many pricks of the needle. Editor Bernadac's book reflects this busy metaphor ... Read full review


The Boarders
The Marriage of Miss Annette Messager
Children with Their Eyes Scratched Cut My fhilds Drawings

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About the author (2006)

ANNETTE MESSAGER has worked in painting, sculpture, assemblage, video, photography, film, embroidery and installation since the 1960s. She has exhibited around the world, including Saint Louis Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Museo de Arte Moderno in Buenos Aires, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Louise Bourgeois, born in 1911, studied at the Ecole du Louvre and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. She worked as Fernand Leger's assistant and in 1938 relocated to New York, where she has lived since. Her work is represented in major museums, including The Guggenheim, The Museum of Modern Art, The National Gallery of Art, and others. Frances Morris is head of collections at Tate Modern. Marie-Laure Bernadac is chief curator of Contemporary Art at the Louvre.

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