Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Sophie Calle

Modus Vivendi

My final day of a week visit to Barcelona and I happened upon a series of lamppost banners with the name Sophie Calle upon them.  I've long admired the way Calle explores her subject matter of self through a quiet, contemplative exploration of emotion and often raw personal grief; hers and ours.

I had seen 'Take Care of Yourself' somewhere else, perhaps Berlin or Venice, I couldn't quite recall.  This smaller scale version, presented in the grander surroundings of the Palau de Virreina, with selected responses to the email from her lover as wrote to tell her of their relationship ending, gave a small sense of the enormity of the project as different women responded in their own professional capacity to their interpretation of the message received and its delivery method.

We could take no photographs, and because of the volume of language incorporated into the work, it was impossible to present any further translation alongside each work. Instead, a written guide was available to carry around. We didn't pick it up for speed, and so didn't see or hear the explanation of each work.

I was deeply caught by 'Last Seen'; a four film projection filling a single space, four people each stand facing the sea, imperceptible shifts in their body language suggests great concentration and thought, deep thought.  Slowly the person will turn, their eyes somehow struggle to focus on the camera. Can they see? Have they been able to see and lost their sight? Have they lost someone at sea? With transfixed, wet eyes, I was unable to move for a very long time.

The exhibition closes 7th June 2015.

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