Annette Messager
[Artist, b. 1943, Berck-sur-Mer, France, lives in Paris.]

 I have always believed that somehow the less we reveal the more the other desires to see. 
 Pornography is about images that are repeated, saturated. Images of the human body, not nature. What I find in pornography is precisely the repetition of the same: the clichés of pornography. There can be no real transgression, just an image that repeats itself. 
 I can see today that the same sort of issues lie behind taxidermy and photography. Taxidermy consists in preserving a bird in full flight... In the same way, photography halts and freezes motion and life. 
 I never take a picture of a face because a face is somebody, an arm is not recognizable as somebody. When you take a photograph of someone’s face, it identifies it as somebody, but if you take just a fragment, it’s everybody. It’s not one person. 
 A lot of people think my work is about sex, or people say I am just looking at just one part of the body, because the genitalia are included. That is silly because there are eyes, there are noses, and ears, too. The sexual parts of the body that I photograph are just one thing. But, we have sex, too! 
 [My work] includes something about death, and about love, because the photos always have something to do with death. The photograph is like taxidermy. It is like the animals I use. They are posed in order to appear to be alive, but they are dead. Their time has passed. The photos have to do with time and loss, and conclusion. 
 My father was an amateur artist and always gave my brother and me materials to work with. My brother never did much, but I spent my time making small drawings. He exposed me to art books constantly. There was paint everywhere, even on the plants in the garden. He showed me books on Bellmer when I was small. Those images are part of me. I am very close to Bellmer’s doll universe. 
 [Love] can be found in making little dresses for stuffed birds, or in a garden of tenderness like I have done— mixing writing, photography, and real spaces. There are all kinds of acts of love. 
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