new-york

Annette Messager, Bras/Voitures (Arm, Cars), 2009, mixed media, 97 5/8 x 78 3/4 x 19 5/8".

Annette Messager

Marian Goodman Gallery | New York

Annette Messager, Bras/Voitures (Arm, Cars), 2009, mixed media, 97 5/8 x 78 3/4 x 19 5/8".

In interviews, Annette Messager has spoken of her admiration for Roland Barthes and, in particular, for his Fragments d’un discours amoureux (A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments, 1977). It makes sense that the artist, perhaps best known for her portrayals of literal and figurative dismemberment, would be attracted to this volume. An account of things come undone (a love affair, a life, the body, discourse itself) written, appropriately enough, in parts (some that feel like shards), Barthes’s book not only echoes formal and conceptual elements of Messager’s forty-year career but interestingly was itself composed when she was making some of her earliest definitive work.

In addition to these similarities, Barthes and Messager share a concern with certain stakes of representation, or, put somewhat differently, what Barthes calls the “image-repertoire.” In love, he argues, one is delivered

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