I was first introduced to French Artist Sophie Calle during my second year for the 'Invented Persona' brief and was instantly curious and intrigued by the way she carried out her projects and how she submerged herself so deeply within her work. I thought it was relevant to re visit her work as part of my research for my current self-directed project 'Inside a Surgeon's Mind' as I want to open my mind in how I approach this project, I don't want to be too literal and I am keen to expand my working method to enrich my practise as an Illustrator.
I find her work fascinating and intriguing with a curious streak that runs through out all of her projects, but it is 'Suite Venitienne' and 'The Hotel' that really inspire me the most in many ways. Sophie Calle's work inhibits the space between fact and fiction, she crosses boundaries to explore hidden meanings and exploits public spaces, investigating them with a sense of intimacy, these are areas that I want to explore for my current project as I am working in that 'space' between fact and fiction whilst creating my Surgeon's personality/behavioural traits.
In 'Suite Venitienne' Sophie Calle follows a man she met at a party all the way to Venice without him knowing, when in Venice she continued to follow and photograph him for 2 weeks. Sophie Calle's work is inseparable from her own life, which is what I find fascinating as she submerges herself in her pursuits and curiosity to explore and observe a person who she does not know, black and white
photographs and text are used to record her thoughts, happenings and emotions - through her own perception. Her work really gets the viewer to see it through her own eyes and in doing so draws the viewer in.
Below are some images of the mystery man whom she followed around Venice. There is so much mystery to the photographs, they leave a lot to the imagination, also the viewpoint is interesting, and draws you into Calle's viewpoint.
''Her use of the diaristic entry, the snapshot, confession and surveillance has greatly influenced much contemporary work concerned with self-documentation and the investigation of ritual, fantasy, anticipation and desire.'' - The White Cube (1997).
The above are methods I would like to use in my work on future projects, as I am concerned with human behaviour, memories and experiences that people have encountered and they way that they project it to the outside world via a persona or a hidden way, such as clues to the lives they lead through objects, daily routine etc. I also think this way of observing could be used for my current self-directed project.
'The Hotel' is also set in Venice and is based on Sophie Calle actually getting a temporary job in a Hotel as a Chambermaid and created a piece of work about what she thought the hotel guests were like based on their personal belongings.
''For each room there was a photograph of the bed undone, of other objects in the room, and a description day by day of what I had fund there.'' - Sophie Calle
Below: Room 47 belongings.