Sophie Calle – born in France in 1953. Described as a ‘writer, photographer, installation artist, and conceptional artist’ She often followed and photographed strangers, which can be very controversial. This practise began when she moved back to France, and realised that she did not know anyone, Her decision to follow others was born of loneliness. Later, she also hired a detective to follow her, and compared his notes to her own accounts of her movements in order to gain an outsider perspective to her own life.
Her museum exhibition ‘Ghost’ is noted by Peggy Phelan as a commentary on the nature and ‘liveness’ of performance. Calle interviewed the public as about stolen paintings and displayed descriptions of their pieces in their place. She believes that the paintings are in themselves a performance element, and the public perceptions of the painting are more important than the painting itself. in trying to re-create the paintings using other people’s perceptions, she is playing with the reality of the painting, but displaying something that is not there in reality. There is a juxtaposition between the presence of her work and the absence of the original art.
Over her life she has kept autobiographical images and stories of her life. To do this, she would take a snapshot of what she wants and then hire someone else to take the photo. Some critics would question whether or not this is still her work. Calle claims that she conceptualises, and then allows her ideas to be influenced by the perceptions of another person.
I feel that while Calle uses some questionable methods to complete her work, they were more acceptable in the time that the work was undertaken then they would be today. I understand that many people may find Calle’s methods to be somewhat disturbing. However, I do not think that her projects caused any harm overall. I think that she looks at performance and the nature of what constitutes a live performance in an innovative way. She very much considers an individuals’ standard, everyday actions to be a performance. I think the way in which she considers these normal actions from multiple perspectives, both that of the individual themselves and other people and strangers, is very interesting. In this way, I feel that her work narrates the importance of perspectives within art.