Thursday, December 9, 2010

Patricia Manterola Performance

his Majesty 'SOPHIE CALLE

Meeting with Sophie Calle (2004)

(Unity, January 27, 2004 )
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Sophie Calle lives and works in one of those wide open spaces post-industrial city on the edge of Paris, without being the periphery. Christian Boltanski and Annette Messager are his neighbors. I have the faded memory of my visit many years ago struck me with its intensity and simplicity (I was hungry and we continued to discuss giving us of you while I fry an egg). Is a conceptual artist Sophie Calle. Use pictures, photographs, writing, and narrative forms, the assembly of materials and articles, videos, installations, but also the ideas, which can not fail to give a narrative. Being an artist of ideas is an powerful, but fragile, it is true that anyone can take and redistribute in turn, included within its own "signature" (and even more so if authoritative). For example, the novel Leviathan, New York writer Paul Auster, for many pages, makes a perfect plagiarism of the works of Sophie Calle, which continues to trouble me. The character of the novel falls in love with a certain Mary, ingenious and unconventional artist, and he says the work and ideas. Many readers do not know, but apart from a couple of marginal inventions, all that the writer gives to that character is actually successful in life and work (indiscernible) of Parisian artist Sophie Calle. Traces of which now a summary and partial chronological list.

time of his first opera (Les Dormeurs, Venice Biennale 1979) Sophie Calle twenty-six: invited to sleep in his bed twenty-nine between friends and strangers, which he photographed sleep at all hours. In Venice, follows a man for a fortnight, taking photos and notes (Suite Vénitienne, 1980). From that year until 1993, leads a long ritual of birthday gifts received and kept methodically. In 1981 is followed by a private detective hired by her without her knowledge, and compares his relationship with his daily diary. The same year he hired as a waitress in a hotel in Venice, photographing the traces of life of clients. In 1983, after finding the street un'agendina with address book, instead of making it to the owner conducts an investigation on him daily, a soap opera, the newspaper Libération, making him tell the people who appear on his column. The following year, Los Angeles, asks where the inhabitants are angels who give the city its name (Les Anges, 1984). Having once obtained a grant for Japan, the Siberian salt and photographed the slow journey, and especially his fellow cab (Anatoli, 1984). In 1986 he asked the blind from birth to give a personal definition of beauty (Les aveugles), while from 1988 to 2003 takes autobiographical works, including that on pain (and Autobiographies Douleur exquise). And so on. (I think I have some idea of \u200b\u200bthe method of Sophie Calle. As another example, it occurs to me that in her hand, the now famous statement "of 'something left," under whose aegis of my Lidia Ravera friend writes weekly monologues in this newspaper, was an investigation - everybody say one thing left - which was specially fitted would become not only work but also, possibly, a concrete program of the Olive). All these works, also available as books published by Actes Sud in general, are visible along with other in the large retrospective of Sophie Calle in progress at the Beaubourg Museum in Paris until March 15 - and copied by Paul Auster on pages that are of striking ingenuity (the same Auster who based his film Smoke on a story by Georges Perec, never mentioned). I apologize to insist on this, but the theme is important: who owns the ideas? What is the relationship between ideas and stories? Although there is no answer to these questions, articulate means to go to the heart of the work of Sophie Calle.

The ideas are in the air, so they are all. But today the only trait that distinguishes art from other objects and practices of life more or less ordinary is the signature, which "institution" depends on further aesthetic enhancement. Capturing ideas and then redistribute them as part of their subjective experience: it is the common and constant feature of the works of conceptual artist Sophie Calle. That make the world, of all things in the world, his autobiography. At the bottom is an exquisitely philosophical, not unlike, for example, by Descartes' Discourse on Method. It 'also the essence of each literary vocation. The voyeurism of autobiographical and conceptual artist Sophie Calle - who has had many imitators over the years with the spread of the "documentary" in the visual arts and film - is that it is with authors and actors of his work. And if this method is at least a limit, even an aporia, is perhaps too generously made explicit in the work of the most intense shows of Parisian artist Sophie Calle, unpublished and not by chance, "says the artist, the result of a failure. It's called Unfinished - Unfinished or infinite. And it is this that I now speak.

It is no coincidence that this has anything to do with money. Thus was born. In 1988, Sophie Calle invited an American bank to implement a project in situ. Outside the bank, vending machines (so-called ATM) were topped by security cameras that record the faces and gestures of customers. Sophie Calle wanted white view of humanity in that archive Black and stretched in a common, silent and solitary transaction of money. But also: the anxious face of a woman who puts a check, and after twenty seconds the lights (the check will be fake and stolen). A man who attacks a woman, and another that appears immediately after bare-chested. The camera is indifferent to the people, money is there to monitor and counter. Thousands of faces, tense, patient, resigned. Indifferent gaze, empty, waiting. Other totally desperate. Sophie Calle was able to obtain from the bank's private detective a number of those videotaped images. But, he confesses, "I did not know what to do with those images. Told something, but what? They spoke of surveillance, money, lonely? I should have thought. " Two years later he returns to the place in search of "an idea to go with those faces." Photographer in the bank then the bags of money, the hands of employees who handle the day notes, questioning them on their spiritual and material relationship with money. But there is no association of ideas, even that of money with sex and death, which appears formulaic. What to do? The style of Sophie Calle, in his work, always consists in linking images and text. In 1994 Jean Baudrillard calls for help, that vision and those pictures stolen in exchange for the delivery baudrillardiane typically four pages that talk about security and obscenity of the money, the universe of vending machines and the world simulacrale value, comparing the ATM to a urinal and a confessional. But the problem remained of Sophie Calle, the following: "What was my role? I need action. " Missing work because they lack the experience. Sophie Calle begins again (we are in 1997), observes the thousands of new images of faces taken from the cameras. He notices that are beautiful and moving? There is something in those stolen images of faces, which produces an even more excruciating than the photos of the dead, enlarged and grainy as Sindoni, who for years shows Christian Boltanski. Sophie Calle note: "I imagined an empty room. A single portrait. A single face turned towards money. " At one point it poses a interesting question: "It 's probably because the money can do, I can not do anything about money?" Worry that perhaps form a final statement, romantic and disenchanted at the same time: "if they are not able to work on because money is money I do not miss, and I can only work on what I miss. " After that you give up, realizing that at that time there is nothing to add. Remain after 15 years, those silent images, in settlement of an investment with the yield turns out to be profitable: the added value is a "video artist" accompanied by off his voice which tells the story and make it so (the signature) works.

End dell'apologo, and review of the exhibition by Sophie Calle that is an excuse. The question of who are the ideas and where they come from does not make much sense without the experience. Without the experiences and ideas would be arbitrary metaphors like the teeth of Berenice in the homonymous short story by Edgar Allan Poe: violence crowds. On the other hand, Sophie Calle said those images of cash that was simply abdicate in front of their presence. " A nice way to recognize their predicament, in an exhibition entitled vue M'as you ("You saw me?"). A great way to reach irreducibility of others through his (equally irreducible) self-centeredness. Those faces in the most public and private made lewd gestures make a rough collision between a physical passion and indifference, intangible and virtual. From any part of its significance, it is not just a fable account for those of us who persist in questioning, search, test ideas and stories, reaching out to them with patience or desperation. And for everyone else, even for those ideas go to the vending machine.

Beppe Sebaste


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