February 29 - September 16 2020
Since its inauguration over 30 years ago, in 1985, by Haute-Vienne district authorities, Rochechouart Museum of Contemporary Art has built up an exceptional collection of more than 500 works by international artists. Some pieces, such as Annette Messager’s and Christian Bolstanski’s Le grenier du château [Castle Attic], were specifically conceived for the castle and have gradually acquired iconic status in the museum’s time-line.
Christian Bolstanki and Annette Messager collaborated in making Le grenier du château for the summer exhibition Contes d’été [Tales of Summer] held in 1990. It consists of 12 rows of sheets hanging on lines, covering the entire 200 m² of the castle’s top floor attic gallery space.
Annette Messager pins small black and white photos of areas of anatomy onto the sheets. She also adds child-like drawings as well as embroidered words such as uncertainty or jealousy. Elsewhere, the sheets bear evocative and ghostly shapes of blood stains. Christian Boltanski, for his part, hangs additional items of clothing on the lines and also contributes a display case by the installation entrance.
The artists describe the piece as a poetic evocation of attic roof spaces as they were in the past, not just places used for hanging out the washing but wonderful worlds for children’s games.
Spectators find themselves caught up in a moving maze of linen sheets and advance into it on their own slow and sinuous journey. This quickly becomes a mesmerising ritual passage, weaving a pathway from one row of sheets to another, passing through the stages of life itself; from birth to marriage bed and onto the shroud of death.