MoMA
Annette Messager. My Vows. 1988-91
Annette Messager

My Vows

1988-91
Not on view
Medium
Gelatin silver prints, colored pencil on paper, glass, tape, string, and pushpins
Dimensions
Overall approximately 11' 8 1/4" x 6' 6 3/4" (356.2 x 200 cm)
Credit
Gift of the Peter Norton Family Foundation
Object number
308.1992
Copyright
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

My Vows brings together hundreds of photographs that each present a small part of a human body: mouth, ear, foot, nose, genitals, hand, breast, and so on. Each hangs from a string, joining and partly obscuring others. Together they make a dense circle whose diameter is barely greater than the height or arm span of a tall person. The individual elements—male and female, old and young, seductive and repellent—form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Physical, psychological, and sexual identities commingle in an inexhaustible variety of unpredictable relationships, which together threaten to overwhelm the stable patterns of our familiar arrangements.

Gallery label from Here Is Every. Four Decades of Contemporary Art, September 10, 2008–March 23, 2009
Additional text

This work brings together hundreds of photographs, each of which presents a small part of a human body: mouths, ears, feet, noses, genitals, hands, breasts, and so on. Each hangs from a string, joining and partly obscuring others. Together they make a dense circle whose diameter is barely greater than the height of a person or the span of his or her arms. The individual elements—male and female, old and young, seductive and repellent—form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Their physical, psychological, and sexual identities co-mingle in an inexhaustible variety of unpredictable relationships, which, together, overwhelm the stable patterns of our familiar arrangements.

Messager's Vows might be the passionate devotions of sexual love, or they might be the votive offerings of an old religion, hung in a chapel to ask for the healing of an ailing eye or limb. These divergent allusions are fused in this hybrid work—part photography and part sculpture.

My Vows (Mes Voeux). 1988-91

Publication excerpt from The Modern Museum of Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 331
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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource