Sophie Calle’s relationship with The San Francisco Bay Area developed some 40 years ago when she photographed the words “Mother” and “Father” on headstones in the Bolinas cemetery. Stemming from a chance visit to the home of photographer Ilka Hartmann while on an existential journey of self-discovery, Calle’s images and ensuing artistic production capture her focus on merging image and text to create autobiographical narratives tackling concepts of absence and loss. “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,” jointly stated Fort Mason Executive Director Rich Hillis and Ars Citizen.
Missing, a challenging exhibition that dialogues heavily with searches for meaning and permanence in light of rapid change and global crises, features four of Calle’s works from the last decade that emphasise an analogy of mother and sea. Rachel Monique (2007) is a multimedia installation installed in the former US Army Chapel that captures the final moments of Calle’s mother; Take Care of Yourself (2007) in Gallery 308 documents 107 women interpreting a break-up letter Calle received from an ex-lover; Voir la mer (2011) offers viewers a film installation featuring residents of Istanbul, Turkey, seeing the ocean for the first time from the Firehouse overlooking The Bay; and The Last Image (2010), also on view at the Firehouse, is a photographic and text-based series depicting the last visual memory of blind people.
Sophie Calle’s Missing runs 29 June-20 August at the San Francisco Waterfront, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, California. For more information visit fortmason.org
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