Thursday, 12 November 2009

Sophie Calle : Talking to strangers....

....Whitechapel, until 3rd Jan 2010.
I was recommended this exhibition, owing to it's content, (I'll let you work out exactly what). Calle is acclaimed for documenting stories, that she sets in motion, captured through film, photography & text.

Sophie Calle, 2009.

'Take care of yourself', in the first room, uses these tools, but is based specifically around an email in which Calle's lover breaks up with her.

'Take care of yourself', 2007. (Original email in French).

She then gave the email to 107 French women - each an expert in there own field - and asked them to give their own interpretation of the electronic letter. (Think a criminologist, ballerina, designer, creative writer and so on.)

The poignant, amusing and poetic result forms a large-scale installation that transcends the personal to provide a monument to the women involved. It is a brilliant, original and intriguing idea that allows Calle to overcome heartbreak and in doing so creates over a hundred works of art in themselves.

The rest of the exhibition continues in a similar vein - inviting others, mostly strangers, in to her life and art. In 'The Sleepers', Calle asks people from the street to sleep in her bed for an allotted time. She then takes photographs & makes notes.

The Sleepers, (Les Dormeurs), 1979

Or, in a piece in which Calle consults Maud Kristen, a clairvoyant, who directs her to a small French village and from whom she can only take instruction on what to do & see next. It is only as I leave, with an overview of all the work, that I appreciate that Calle creates art in which she is integral, but the others whom she involves are the real heroes. We are ultimately lead into the depths of other lives, other hearts.

1 comment:

Kate said...

oh god i LOVE sophie calle. Good choice Barker.