Original text of the work
J’ai reçu un mail de rupture. Je n’ai pas su répondre. C’était comme s’il ne m’était pas destiné. Il se terminait par les mots : Prenez soin de vous. J’ai pris cette recommandation au pied de la lettre. J'ai demandé à 107 femmes - dont une à plumes et deux en bois - choisies pour leur métier, leur talent, d’interpréter la lettre sous un angle professionnel. L’analyser, la commenter, la jouer, la danser, la chanter. La disséquer. L’épuiser. Comprendre pour moi. Parler à ma place. Une façon de prendre le temps de rompre. À mon rythme. Prendre soin de moi.
Translation of the work in English
I received an email telling me it was over. I didn’t know how to respond. It was almost as if it hadn’t been meant for me. It ended with the words, Take care of yourself. I followed this advice to the letter I asked 107 women (as well as two handpuppets and a parrot), chosen for their profession or skills, to interpret the letter. To analyse it, comment on it, dance it, sing it. Dissect it. Exhaust it. Understand it for me. Answer for me. It was a way of taking the time to break up. A way to take care of myself.
Prenez soin de vous, 2004-2007
After Sophie Calle received a break up email ending with the words “Take care of yourself,” she decided to send it to 107 women of different professions and invited them to interpret it. As a means to “take care of herself” and mourn the end of her love story, she asked other women to read this parting letter through their professional lenses: the email ended up in the hands of an anthropologist, a journalist, a criminologist, a chess player, a judge, a dancer... Emblematic of Sophie Calle’s visual literature, each work composing Prenez soin de vous consists of at least two elements: one photographic portrait of the interpreter, and one revealing her rendering of the letter under the form of another photograph, a text, a drawing, a video... Exhibited for the first time in the French pavilion of the 2007 Venice Biennale, the performance was originally conceived as a cathartic enterprise, designed to overcome this moment of loss and chock that she was struggling to process. Take care of yourself echoes another emblematic piece by Sophie Calle, Exquisite Pain (1983-2003), a series of photographs and texts narrating the days preceding another painful breakup and those paving the way to her remission. In this earlier piece, she also turned a moment of loss and suffering into one of creativity and reflexivity by collecting answers to the question “when have you suffered the most?” until she considered to have recovered.
- Cuídese Mucho, Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art, Chile, 2019
- Missing, curated by Evelyne Jouanno / Ars Citizen, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, San Francisco, USA, 2017
- Review : 25 years de Pont, De Pont museum, Tilburg, Netherlands, 2017
- Cuídese mucho, Centro Cultural Kirchner, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2015
- Modus vivendi, La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona, Spain, 2015
- Cuídese mucho, Museo Tamayo, Mexico city, Mexico, 2014
- Cuídese mucho, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Mexico, 2014
- Take Care of Yourself, Lillehammer Kunstmuseum, Norway, 2013
- Take Care of Yourself, Espoon modernin taiteen museo, Espoon, Finland, 2012
- Take Care of Yourself, The Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Saint Louis, USA, 2012
- Take Care of Yourself / Hoia end. Ole tubli, Tallinna Kunstihoone, Tallinn, Estonia, 2011
- Talking to Strangers, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark, 2010
- Talking to Strangers, De Pont Museum, Tilbourg, Netherlands, 2010
- Talking to Strangers, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK, 2009
- Cuide de você, Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro ; Museu de Arte Moderna de Salvador de Bahia ; SESC Pompeia, São Paulo, Brazil, 2009
- Prenez soin de vous, Fondation pour l’art contemporain DHC/ART, Montréal, Canada, 2008
- Prenez soin de vous, Bibliothèque nationale de France, site Richelieu, Paris, France, 2008
- Prenez soin de vous, Pavillon français de la 52e Biennale de Venise, Italy, 2007