Friday, October 14, 2011

Vernissages | Art and Memory: Sophie Calle "Room"

I start my evening walkabouts crossing a dark Central Park and walking toward the Lowell Hotel, which hosts Sophie Calle’s “Room”.

The self referential title of the installation located in a "real" hotel room is almost a psychological tautology, and pregnant of significance itself. The installation, part of the festival "Crossing the Line" organized by the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), consists of a hotel room staged with objects of particular significance to the artist’s life: shoes, a typewriter, a wig, handwritten letters, photographs, dresses are the personal objects associated with memories and fantasies, casually placed in the hotel room almost as objects belonging to a typical hotel guest. Notes with sequential number tells stories about Calle’s life, where art becomes a means to tell memories to others.

Sophie Calle is a remarkable storyteller and mostly a “storymaker” mixing objects and written words, writing and performances, in stories blurring the boundaries between reality and fiction,  public and private life. Her art is made of life stories, mainly hers. Reality does not simply happen but is often the product of her design, as in 1979 work “Suite Vénitienne”;  the work consists of diaries, maps, drawings and photographs she took while following a man met at a Parisian party, all the way to Venice. The piece, traced Calle’s journey through an intricate series that she used to speculate on the man’s identity.

“Room” is  room 304, The Lowell Hotel, 28 East 63rd Street, New York
from midnight of October 13 to midnight of October 16.