The Wedding Dress
A few years ago, my friend Wes left a Sophie Calle book on a table in my Penland studio. We had been talking about art at lunch and he thought I would enjoy reading about her work…little did either of us know how important she would become to me. I spent days leafing through the book and didn't dive into the text for awhile. I think I was overwhelmed by what I was seeing and needed time to take it all in visually before reading about it. I have now read the book twice in its entirety and own my own copy which I keep by my bed to page through whenever I want.
Did You See Me?
To See the Sea
There are many things I love about Sophie's work, but I think the one thing, maybe the most important thing I take away, is her power of observation, especially when it comes to the "everyday." Sophie takes notice of those little things that are often overlooked because they are so common it's like none of us notice them anymore. After I made "Observation/Translation" in 2012, I realized the influence she had on me. I have always been an observer but after reading about her work I think observation became even more important to me--I became more aware of the power and importance of observation and began to be more deliberate in my daily observations. It wash't until probably a year after I made that body of work that I realized Sophie was under my skin.
I also love that Sophie does things we all think about doing but most often do not react upon because we "shouldn't." She has followed strangers, called people in a found address book and watched people sleep. In "The Hotel" Sophie works as a housekeeper in a hotel and actually looks through the belongings of the guests whose rooms she is cleaning. Then she goes one step further by photographing what she finds and further still by forming stories about who the people are. I find this all very, very fascinating. It begins with curiosity, followed by the sharing of accumulated information in the form of tangible things like writing and photos. Her findings allow us to take an intimate look at the unseen in the everyday. I think they also cause us to think twice about our habits and to look closely at how we live our lives.
Take Care of Yourself, Installation view and detail