Original text of the work
Alors que je clamais mon non-désir d'enfant, on me fit remarquer que mon comportement envers souris était celui d'une mère. Je m'émerveillais de sa grâce, il était le plus drôle, le plus intelligent. J'avais son portrait comme fond d'écran. Lorsque, inévitablement, des parents exhibaient la photo de leur gosse, je n'étais pas en reste, je brandissais la sienne. Je décidai donc de boucler la boucle et d'accoucher de mon chat. Je demandai conseil à ma vétérinaire afin de simuler une grossesse pour la période de gestation habituelle - 58 à 63 jours ) et me procurai une petite peluche noire et blanche. Je ne suis jamais passée à l'acte. L'été était-il peu propice au port d'un faux ventre, ou la crainte des moqueries de mes copains du village joua-t-elle un rôle déterminant ? L'hiver je voyageais, j'accrochais mes expositions... A force de repousser cette maternité, Souris était devenu trop vieux. Cela n'avait plus de sens.
Translation of the work in English
I never wanted to have children. But, as I was insisting upon this, someone pointed out that I behaved toward Souris as though I were his mother. It was true, I was enchanted by his grace. He was the funniest, the smartest. His portrait was my screen saver. Whenever, as they always do, parents showed pictures of their children, I, not to be outdone, pulled out one of him. And so I decided to take the next step and give birth to my cat. I asked my vet for advice in order to simulate a pregnancy for the usual gestation period (58 to 63 days) and purchased a small black and white stuffed toy. I never went through with it. Was it because summer was the wrong time to be wearing a fake belly? Or because I feared being made fun of by my friends in the village? In the winter, I was traveling, hanging shows… As I kept postponing motherhood, Souris grew old. It no longer made any sense.
Since 1988, Sophie Calle has been enriching an ongoing series called Autobiographies. Each work of this series is composed of a picture and a text, presented under the form of framed pieces, wooden boxes or light boxes. Through her photographs and writings, she cultivates contrasts between a cold technical representation and an intimate but distanced content. Gathered in a book entitled True Stories, this series displays a compilation of fragments of Sophie Calle’s life, thus enrolling the viewer into a game in which his position oscillates between that of the voyeur and that of the detective.
Autobiographies inevitably raises the question of the heuristic scope of an accumulation of texts and images, a topic the artist explored in other series evoking pastiche documentary or inquiry work, such as The Hotel, a series revealing the content of guests’ rooms in a venetian hotel. Indissociably weaving together facts and fictions about her own life in Autobiographies, the artist takes on the roles of narrator and agent in this piece of visual literature. This blurring of the boundaries between the author and its subject lies at the heart of Sophie Calle’s artistic process. 展覽 : Was Bleibt, Kunstmuseum Ravensburg, Ravensburg, Allemagne, 2020
Dead End, Château La Coste, Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France, 2018
Seoul Photo Festival, Seoul Museum of Contemporary Art, Samcheong-dong, Corée du Sud, 2020