Sophie Calle
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   I am a big admirer of French conceptual artist Sophie Calle (who is known to do detective like works in which she conducts surveillance on, and tails, complete strangers for long periods of time). Calle is a tremendously talented artist; I believe she is one of the greatest alive today. I own several of her books, including my favorite, Exquisite Pain. I was first introduced to Sophie Calle’s work in 1991 shortly after the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was burglarized. Calle created a piece called Last Seen in which she asked curators, guards and other staff members to describe the missing artworks to her. Photos of the empty frames were hung next to framed text which documented these descriptions.

   “Sophie Calle is an internationally renowned French writer, photographer, installation artist, and conceptual artist. She is famous for her sleuth-like explorations of human relationships, which led her, for example, to follow a stranger in the streets of Venice and document his every move, or to find work as a hotel chambermaid in order to photograph the belongings of the hotel’s guests. In her different projects, Calle immerses herself in examinations of voyeurism and identity.
   Often playing roles or adopting guises, she recasts her own identity to reconstruct or document strangers’ lives, examining the relationship between the artist and the objects of her investigations.”


"Last Seen: Rembrandt A Lady and Gentleman in Black"


Sophie's description of "A Lady and Gentleman in Black"
[click to enlarge]


"Last Seen: Rembrant The Storm in the Sea of Galilee"


Sophie's description of "The Storm in the Sea of Galilee"
[click to enlarge]


"Last Seen: Chinese Ku"


"Last Seen: Vermeer The Concert"


Sophie's description of "The Concert"
[click to enlarge]


"Manet: Chez Tortoni"