“Calle is a character in her own story, a false witness, an unreliable narrator. Feigning a hysterical kind of love coded female, with an analytical bent. With a sly humour, power relations are flipped and flipped again. Who is in control, who is the butt of the work? In the case of The Address Book, the victim, in response to having his friends’ opinion of his private life splashed across the pages of Libération, attempted to get his revenge on Calle by having the newspaper publish nude photos of her. Of that work, she said: ‘The sense of excitement was much stronger than the guilt’.
In Double Game, Calle allows novelist Paul Auster to fictionalize her life in a novel, before republishing his account with her own red corrections scrawled on top. Taking it one step further, she then requests that the author give her tasks to do, as though she is a character in one of his novels, and the interaction culminates in a project entitled Gotham Handbook.
Other works play out this repeated doubling-back, such as The Detective, where she asked her mother to hire a private detective to follow her, while she had someone follow the detective, engaging in a game of triangulation and elusiveness, the trick of being the woman who evades, always disappearing round a corner. An object that first receives the world before finding pattern in the day, letting things circle back around, playing out the real work of looking. This mode requires a certain shiftlessness, one not traditionally accorded to women, who rarely know what it feels like to be anonymous, to pass through space unnoticed.”
Read Madeileine Stack’s full piece here.
Photography by Sophie Calle.