There is nothing remotely regular about the exhibitions I see and post on this blog and I should write up more on the exhibitions I see, however, for now, read on. There is a retrospective of the French artist Annette Messager at the Hayward Gallery in London and I went to see it on Friday, and it was extraordinary so it qualifies for entry here.This is a hugely theatrical exhibition where almost all the spaces are filled with mixed up creatures that are in fact stuffed toys (or ex toys), completely corrupted species with legs from one and heads from another, a conglomeration of limbs and bodies. They are all are tied to ropes, some are suspended from pulleys and are going up, and coming down; while others are dragging around the perimeters of a crazy playroom. “Articulated Disarticulated 2001-2002” pictured above, is a circus of macabre puppets come to life.Dead birds in crochet tops and stuffed birds with replacement knitted heads are tragic but not grim; it’s a game that endures. The sea of real waves is actually swathes scarlet silk, articulated by compressed air, it rumbles from the anti room at the back of this large space flodding forward towards you feet. Underneath are glimpses of illuminated creatures and alternately sunken cities, it is so delightful and affirms for me my own child self that still lives alongside me as a ridiculously familiar comedy anchor.The exhibition is accessible with a morbid side that is not detected by the young visitors to this art gallery, the children were entranced and stimulated by what they saw, this morphing, butchering and concocting is completely normal to them. It is so good to be reminded of our past less serious selves.
See Annette Messager in pictures here
Southbank Cerntre, Hayward Gallery click here
I have used some photographs from this site and the ones of Annette Messagers framed photographs I have scanned from her book “Word for Word”