Artist-collector and handywoman, Annette Messager has made nearly sixty “collection albums” between 1972 and 1974. Inspired by words, writings and images, the artist has created her albums from an accumulation of texts, photographs, notes and miscellaneous items, cautiously collected and sorted. Sometimes carefully glued in notebooks, sometimes gathered in bulk folders, each one of Annette Messager’s albums include a handwritten title by the artist.
The albums are organized according to various themes, such as love life, encounters or domestic life and resemble sometimes a diary, a photo album or a recipe book. Les hommes que j’aime, Ma collection de proverbes, Ma vie illustrée or Mon livre de cuisine are a few examples. Annette Messager assembles common, everyday items to create a work that is subtly both poetic and feminist.
Although the use of the personal pronoun suggests that the albums are autobiographical, they are works of fiction. They reveal the ironic fantasy life of a young woman embodying the archetype of the 60's housewife. This woman is not Annette Messager.
Ma collection de champignons bons et de champignons mortels is is an album within which Annette Messager has drawn a variety of colorful mushrooms, as if she were a botanist, indicating for each if it is toxic or not. The good and the toxic mushrooms are presented on the same pages, only the words "bons" (good) and "mortels" (deadly) in red allow us to differentiate them.
Image rights: ©2011 Annette Messager and mfc-michèle didier
Produced and published in 2011 by mfc-michèle didier
About Annette Messager
French, b. 1943, Berck, France