Sophie Calle, Mes mains, 2018. Digital photograph, diasec, light box. 27 × 42 cm. 1/3 FR + 1 AP. Photo: Claire Dorn. © Sophie Calle / ADAGP, Paris & SACK, Seoul 2019. Courtesy Perrotin.
My Mother, My Cat, My Father, in That Order
February 2–March 10, 2019
Piramide Building, 1F, 6-6-9 Roppongi
Minato, Tokyo 106-0032
Perrotin is pleased to present My Mother, My Cat, My Father, in That Order, a solo exhibition by Sophie Calle, the first at the Tokyo gallery, and the 16th since the start of the collaboration with the artist in 2001.
Death, loss and absence are the recurrent themes of the works presented in the exhibition.
The series Autobiographies, Série noire and the project Souris Calle, made in collaboration with 40 musicians, resonate with one another, in a strategy of distantiation that is characteristic of the artist’s work.
The exhibition coincides with the presentation of Exquisite Pain at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, twenty years after the artist’s first exhibition in the museum. Sophie Calle indeed wanted to reveal this work—which would go on to tour the world—in the country where she experienced the break-up that was the starting point of this iconic series. Parallel to these exhibitions, Gallery Koyanagi presents the series “Parce que” (Because).
Sophie Calle is one of the most famous French artists on the international scene. For the past 40 years, her work has blended the written word, the photographic image, performance, video, in an ongoing to and fro between the narrative and the real, the private and the public. Sophie Calle narrates herself through texts, photographs, objects—elements that act as supports for these stories and that contribute to the development of an individual mythology.
Among other things, the exhibition presents a series of recent works (2012–2018) from the series “Autobiographies”: they relate to the artist’s mother, father and cat, all of whom died in recent years. These works plunge viewers into the private sphere while maintaining a relation to the real that is marked by a certain distance. Combining framed texts with photographs, the “Autobiographies” maintain a dialectic between the visible and the sayable.
The Autobiographies constitute one of the artist’s most famous series. Since 1988 they have been put on display around the world: Musée d’Art Moderne and Musée d’Art Contemporain de la Ville de Paris, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Sprengel Museum of Hanover and the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, among others.
“Série Noire” (2017) completes the exhibition. This is a set of recent works that take as their starting point the titles of detective novels published in Gallimard’s “Série Noire” collection. Works such as On efface tout (Let’s start over), Du balai! (Go away!), Adieu la vie… (Farewell, life …), Ça nous fend le cœur (It breaks our heart) and Mise en caisse (Boxed up) cohabit with a text in which the artist raised the question of bereavement and of the different ways of dealing with the loss of a loved one, including the act of deleting their contact details: “What do you do with your dead? In your diary, do you write ‘dead’ beside their name? Do you draw a cross, a tomb? …” This literary genre is here associated with these questions in order to deal, not without irony and a certain distance, with death and bereavement, themes that permeate the exhibition and the artist’s recent works.
The last series of the exhibition, Souris Calle, is presented for the first time in Japan. For this project, Sophie Calle called on forty musicians and singers: each composed a piece in homage to Souris, the artist’s cat, who died in 2014. The resulting compilation takes the form of three 33 rpm records, at once an object hung in the exhibition space and a sound broadcast in a space prepared for listening.
The result of a collaborative protocol with musicians, the project Souris Calle becomes an act of resilience to fill the void left by her cat. Souris Calle is more than a musical compilation, it is a complex work that creates a unity through the absence.