Sophie Calle, ?True Stories?
Sophie Calle walked into my life one day. In the form of a book filled with images and text. It was one evening in the library at the end of the school year, and I somehow have the impression that it was well before any notion of temporary art or art criticism even existed. And here she is, looking just like she did the first day of my life with her: Posing as a clever little chambermaid for three weeks in a Venice hotel, Sophie Calle spent her cleaning time rummaging through customers? belongings, photographing their unmade beds and their open suitcases and recopying their address books. She later compiled a portrait of the travelers in their absence (L'Hôtel, 1981). This was already a true story, like others that followed, all the way up to her most recent opus ?Douleur Exquise,? exchanging the heartbreak she experienced with a love affair like communicating vessels, with stories of pain and heartbreak as told by others. Everything is authentic with Sophie Calle, in the sense that everything involved actually took place: Like the birthday rituals and the displays of unopened presents, the striptease when she was twenty years old at a fair in Pigalle, and the tailing of an anonymous male stranger all the way from Paris to Venice. Yet in her works, the notion of truth?which the philosophers whom we are not appear to have a few clear-cut ideas?becomes considerably scrambled, murky as a result of the game-playing, poking fun, masking, manipulation and missing links. What exactly is my truth ? And others?? How should one react to them? Barely had I stepped outside the library to embark on life, and I was already confronted with an enigma. -- Jean-Max Colard