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December 16, 2012 / Ginny Banks

“Elle” show at Seattle Art Museum and Sophie Calle.


Obsession has always interested me. Sophie Calle is a French photographer and writer. This appeals to me since I love type in conjunction with image. She is one of the artists represented in the “Elle” show currently on display at Seattle Art Museum.

Calle probes the space of vulnerability and the boundaries between public and private experience. The piece on display is called “Exquisite Pain” and it consists of chromogenic prints and obsessive, lengthy, embroidered type. In “Exquisite Pain,” she recounts a breakup that occurred to her on a trip from Paris to Tokyo, Japan in 1984. The disintegration of her relationship took place in the Imperial Hotel in New Delhi, over the phone, specifically the red phone repeatedly pictured. Panels on the left retell her story of lost love. On the right, she includes texts from friends and strangers who shared stories in which they had suffered a loss. Their stories have an intimate diaristic quality.  —Seattle Art Museum

One of the things that interests me about Sophie Calle is how she creates artwork from painful experiences, all the while soliciting the advice of others, a unique way to avoid a visit to a therapist.

Go and enjoy the show! By the way, there are many other women photographers represented. Some of which are: Lisette Model, Diane Arbus, Claude Cahun, Sabine Weiss, Berenice Abbott, Barbara Kruger, Annette Messenger, Eleanor Antin, Gisele Freund, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, Adrian Piper, Lucia Moholy, Florence Henri, Dora Maar, Hannah Wilke, Rosemarie Trockel and more!


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