- Artist: Annette Messager
- Creation date: (1998–1999)
- Object type: Installation
Trained at the École Nationale Supérieuredes Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Annette Messager creates art that veers between conceptualism and expressionism. She uses a wide array of materials, techniques, and media, such as painting, embroidery, sculpture, assemblage, collage,and film montage. Form and content often clash with each other in her works, as when she creates soft, colourful, stuffed sculptures of fabric formed as rifles and hangs them on a wall. Or when she fastens crayons onto textiles to create a skull, hangs up pictures of women that are “made over” to get the perfect face and body, entangles humanoid figures into black nets, or places stuffed birds on thin poles that stick up from the floor. Messager bends rules and pushes limits, often with irony and a dark, yet playful humour, converting the familiar and safe into things that are unfamiliar and perhaps even threatening.
The Cross, which belongs to a series called “Les Restes”, is based on textiles and stuffed toys that Messager has dissected and manipulated, before rearranging the colourful remains and hanging them on a wall. In the centre of the assemblage hangs a large, greyish-brown figure that looks like a composite of a scarecrow and a fur-clad animal whosetongue is sticking out. This figure is nailed to the wall, and the colourful textile fragments form a cross around it. Upon a closer look, the tone of the work goes from bright and cheerful to disturbing, as the artist moves between the familiar and the unfamiliar, life and death, and fiction and religion, shifting from the near to the more complex and comprehensive.