Sophie Calle Missing
Curated by Ars Citizen
THIS EXHIBIT WAS ON VIEW
JUNE 29 THROUGH AUGUST 20, 2017.
Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (FMCAC) was pleased to present Sophie Calle’s Missing, a large-scale exhibition curated by Ars Citizen of the internationally acclaimed French artist. Featuring four of Calle’s most prominent projects, the exhibition is her most extensive to date in the United States.
Conceived as a journey, Missing gathered four of Sophie Calle’s major projects – itinerant since their creation – into a site-responsive presentation across the historic and scenic FMCAC campus on the San Francisco waterfront. The corpus offered an overview of Calle’s art since the 1980s, and included her iconic projects spanning the last decade: Take Care of Yourself, Rachel Monique, and Voir la mer.
Unveiled through a narrative of intimate stories, both personal and collective, Missing emphasized the analogy of mother and sea (“mère” and “mer” in French), while proposing a reflection on the universal concepts of disappearance, loss and absence, central in the artist’s work and exploration.
Rachel Monique (2007)—Installed in the former U.S. Army Chapel, the poignant and poetic multimedia installation featured the personality and final moments of Sophie Calle’s mother.
Take Care of Yourself (2007)—Located in Gallery 308, Take Care of Yourself documented 107 women interpreting a break-up letter Calle received from an ex-lover. This body of work was originally created for the French Pavilion of the 2007 Venice Biennale.
Voir la mer (2011)—In the Firehouse, which offers a stunning view of the San Francisco Bay, viewers experienced the film installation featuring residents of Istanbul, Turkey, seeing the ocean for the first time.
Also displayed in the Firehouse, The Last Image (2010) was a series of photographs and texts that portrayed the last visual memory of blind people.
Sophie Calle Missing was open and free to the public from June 29, 2017 through August 20, 2017.
Ars Citizen curated parallel programs in partnership with leading San Francisco Bay Area cultural and educational institutions. They included a conversation with Calle at FMCAC; a screening of Calle’s film and video works at UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) with a conversation between the artist and Lawrence Rinder, Director of BAMPFA; a presentation and book signing with Calle at City Lights Bookstore; and a Sophie Calle film anthology at San Francisco’s Roxie Theater. On the occasion of the event, Fraenkel Gallery also presented a special exhibition by Sophie Calle at FraenkelLAB.
About Sophie Calle
The French conceptual artist Sophie Calle (b. Paris 1953, lives and works in Malakoff, France) has exhibited extensively around the globe since the late 1970’s. For almost four decades, she has produced a singular body of work merging image and text and revealing a narrative approach that eliminates the frontiers between intimate and public, fact and fiction, art and life. Highly autobiographical, her art and exploration embrace the universal and challenging concept of absence. Her projects are elaborated by creating a vast system of echoes and internal references, allowing us to read them today not as a simple accumulation of titles but as connected chapters of a total and absolute artwork.
Sophie Calle has exhibited at leading international museums including in the United States at the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. A retrospective of her work premiered at the Centre George Pompidou in Paris in 2003, and toured to museums in Berlin and Dublin. In 2007, she was the official representative of France at the 52nd Venice Biennale. Sophie Calle was the recipient of the 2010 Hasselblad Award for photography and the 2017 ICP Infinity Award.
Sophie Calle and the San Francisco Bay Area
Missing and the related programming add a new chapter to Sophie Calle’s special relationship with the San Francisco Bay Area. In the late 1970’s, her career began when she photographed the words “Mother” and “Father” engraved on headstones in the Bolinas cemetery. Calle had been wandering the world for several years looking to find meaning for her life, when chance led her to the house of a photographer in the small community of intellectuals and artists north of San Francisco. Calle’s relationship with California and the United States has never stopped. From the early 1980’s onwards, her work has been widely exhibited in American galleries and museums while Calle successfully created site-related projects like Los Angeles (1984), No sex last night (1992), and Journey to California (2003). More recently, Sophie Calle acquired a burial plot in the Bolinas graveyard where she took her first photographs.
Ars Citizen is an independent art-commissioning and curatorial platform committed to advancing production and diffusion of contemporary art and ideas. Founded and operating in the San Francisco Bay Area, a center of global influence, Ars Citizen brings the excellence of major international contemporary artists to local leaders of culture, education and innovation. It aims to commission, produce and promote some of the most significant works of our time, while generating thoughtfully conceived related programming including exhibitions, lectures, debates, workshops, publications and archives. Ars Citizen values long-term commitment, networking synergy and global dialogue and seeks to resonate with the contemporary world, its complexity and pressing challenges.
Ars Citizen is an initiative and nonprofit organization founded by the San Francisco-based French curator Evelyne Jouanno who has been working with the global contemporary art community for the last 20 years. Ars Citizen is co-run with Marie Martraire and Jeanne Barral, and is supported by an international advisory board composed of experts in the wide range of contemporary culture. Contact Ars Citizen at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit their site at arscitizen.org.
“Sophie Calle, Voir la mer (detail), 2011 ©Sophie Calle / Adagp, Paris, 2017, Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, Fraenkel Gallery and Galerie Perrotin”
“Sophie Calle, Take care of yourself (detail), 2007 ©Sophie Calle / Adagp, Paris, 2017, Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, Fraenkel Gallery and Galerie Perrotin”
“Sophie Calle, Rachel Monique. Couldn’t Capture Death (detail), 2007 ©Sophie Calle / Adagp, Paris, 2017, Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, Fraenkel Gallery and Galerie Perrotin”