Annette MESSAGER, Mes voeux [My vows] Enlarge 1 /1


France born 1943

Mes voeux [My vows] 1989 Place made: France
Materials & Technique: photographs, installation, gelatin silver photographs, colour pencil on paper, string

Primary Insc: not dated, not signed
Dimensions: installed (variable) 350.0 h x 90.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1993
Accession No: NGA 93.702.1-206
Image rights: © Annette Messager/ADAGP. Licensed by Viscopy

The bodily fragments in Mes voeux are intended to recall ex-votos – objects, often in the shape of limbs or torsos, left as offerings to saints in fulfilment of a vow or in gratitude for recovery from an illness or injury – that Messager encountered as a young woman in southern European churches. The work reflects Messager’sbroader interest in religious iconography, though here the vows suggest the exchange of somewhat more secret promises. The extreme close-up views of the body, piled one on top of the other, speak of a somewhat claustrophobic, obsessive preoccupation.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra