Sophie Calle

(Paris, France, 1953 - )

Europe, French

Interested in themes of vulnerability, identity and intimacy, Sophie Calle uses a combination of images and text to convey narratives that encourage her viewers to question conventional thought on topics such as private and public personae and truth and fiction. Known for its potent combinations of image and text, Calle’s work draws inspiration from both photography and literature. She has been active as a photographer since the late 1970s, when she began following strangers in the Paris streets, photographing them and taking notes on their movements. Her father’s close friendships with artists, including Arman, Martial Raysse and Christian Boltanski, influenced her decision to pursue a fine arts career. Calle often sets up situations, such as asking strangers to sleep in her bed (“The Sleeper,” 1979) or requesting that her mother hire a private detective to follow her (“Detective,” 1980), to produce subject matter. Other times she uses experiences from her own life, such as the 2007 project “Take Care of Yourself,” where she asked 107 women to interpret a break up email she received from a lover. In 1992, she collaborated on the video “Double-Blind” with filmmaker Gregory Shephard, which documented the pair’s road trip across the United States. Calle has served as professor of film and photography at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, since 2005. She represented France in the 2007 Venice Biennial and received the Hasselblad Award in 2010. Her work is in the collection of many institutions, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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