New York

Annette Messager

Gagosian | 522 West 21st Street

In a month when valentines seem ubiquitous, Annette Messager presented a visceral antidote to those cheesy emblems of false feeling with her heart-shaped installation Dépendence/lndépendence, 1995–97. Entering through the heart’s shadowy edges, one brushed past hundreds of objects strung on single strands of bright yarn: cloth effigies; items packed into fishnet or plastic bags; framed photographs of body parts and children’s grimacing faces; soft-sculpture limbs, bodily organs, and amorphous shapes; wigs; doll clothes; stockings; mirrors; numbered placards; and other talismans.

Damp with so much sentiment, the installation suggested a body’s humid interior, or in Messager’s words, “an enormous rain of yarn . . . a rain of objects.” In many of her peculiar relics, gloom was inseparable from tender irony: black satin batwings cradled corpses of real birds; stuffed musical notes and a treble

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