The meaning of art has been an endless discussion since the beginning of time. With art forms drastically varying from subtle to outlandish, the majority of exhibits represent a form of personal expression.

Dubbed as ‘France’s most eminent conceptual artist’, Sophie Calle utilizes her emotional experiences to differentiate her work from the conventional.

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Please Follow Me | 1979

Calle’s early works, the photographic series ‘Please follow me’ (1979) demonstrated a trip she took to Venice in order to follow a man she met at a party. After phoning a number of hotels until she found out where he was staying, the young artist then persuaded the woman who lived opposite to let her photograph his activity from her window. The result was a book called Suite Vénitienne, published in 1979. (The Guardian, 2016)

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The Hotel | 1981

This later led to ‘The Hotel’ project in 1981, where Calle photographed objects while working as a chambermaid at a hotel. Documenting the behaviour and actions of those around her, the French artist observed the details of the guests whilst remaining anonymous.

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Exquisite Pain | 2003

Depicting human identity, intimacy and even one’s privacy became Sophie’s eminent signature. Her later works ‘Exquisite Pain’ and ‘Take Care Of Yourself’ reveal her personal emotions and heartbreak.

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The Take Care of Yourself (2007)

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Performance on Take Care Of Yourself | 2007

The Take Care of Yourself (2007) was prompted by an email Calle received from a lover ending their relationship. Inspired by the rejection and unanswered questions of the abrupt message, the French artist went on to invite 107 women to analyse the email for closure.

Informing the gentleman in question of her reaction, the talented artist now confirms this has led to a beautiful friendship.

“When I’m happy I don’t photograph the moment to share with people on the wall of a museum. It doesn’t translate so well. Do people like hearing someone’s story about how happy they are? Not usually.” Sophie Calle

The Take Care of Yourself (2007)  installation will be displayed next month at the Whitechapel Gallery in London.

 

Written by Elaine Chau

Edited by Christina Wright

References

“Interview With Sophie Calle | The White Review”. Thewhitereview.org. N.p., 2016. http://www.thewhitereview.org/interviews/interview-with-sophie-calle/. 1 June 2016.

“Paula Cooper Gallery”. Paulacoopergallery.com. N.p., 2016. https://www.paulacoopergallery.com/exhibitions/sophie-calle-exquisite-pain/press-release. 1 June 2016.

“Sophie Calle”. Interview Magazine. N.p., 2016. http://www.interviewmagazine.com/art/sophie-calle#_. 1 June 2016.