Once upon a time, you just had to cross Sophie Calle‘s road to become part of a work of art, so sending her a mail on her cell phone to end up a relationship was looking for it. The private message has become a public installation called after its final worlds :“Take care”.
It was first shown In Venice Biennale 2007, where Sophie Calle was representing France with this work. Now it is being shown in Paris National Library, on its ancient site rue de Richelieu.
The exhibition takes place in “salle Labrouste” which was the former reading room before the new National Great Library was built, and it is a most beautiful place with a touch of magic.
Staged by Daniel Buren, on screens put on reading tables, some of the 107 women who have been given the message written to Sophie Calle read it in their own language, and react to it in their own way.
Diam’s, a young French rap singer, in a recording studio.
Arielle Dombasle reads the message in French but curses the author in English.
Ingrid Caven reads it in German.
And Miranda Richardson reads an English version to her cat before tearing the paper to pieces.
It is sang by opera singers, danced by an Indian dancer and a ballerina, told in deaf and dumb language, eaten by a parrot… It is analyzed by psycho analysts, semioticians, literary critics, specialists of computer writing, translators…It is treated by a wedding counselor. A large screen on the room’s central upper vault shows a loot of all these films.
All these voices mixed with a low repetitive music make a kind of hypnotic murmur. Open drawers are full of copies the letter.
As Daniel Buren says : ” Sophie has made out of this personal letter a raw material, an artistic object. Still this doesn’t mean that there is no feeling left.”
An intriguing experience in an exceptional setting.
Sophie Calle, Prenez soin de vous, up to June 8. Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Site Richelieu – Salle Labrouste. 58 rue de Richelieu 75002 Paris Metro Bourse, Palais-Royal et Pyramides. Tel 33(0)1 53 79 59 59. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10 to 20, Sunday 12 to 20, Thursday up to 22. Closed on Monday. Enter 7 euros.