Pièce montée, no. 2 - 52K JPEG

Pièce montée, no. 2. 1986. Acrylic and oil on gelatin-silver prints mounted on canvas. 104 5/16 x 32 11/16 inches (264.8 x 83.3 cm). Collection the artist.


In her earliest works Messager used existing photographs in the assembly of her collections, but she quickly realized the role her own photography could play. In the late 1970s Messager began to create large works using her photographs, incorporating the idea that while photography is able to replicate a subject in an exacting representation, it also replaces the subject that is no longer present, creating a fetish. In its ability to extend presence, photography, like taxidermy, arrests a moving subject and preserves it for scrutiny. Messager values this transformative quality, and she has pointed out that our conceptualization of photography, including the way it is described--"stop bath, fixative, development, darkroom"--acknowledges its magical, fetishizing characteristics.


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