They say you should never meet your heroes...

I'm not sure who "they" are, but I am happy to report that meeting Sophie Calle was lovely. It's an honor to be able to thank someone who has been so influential and motivating (especially when they live in Paris).

I was able to meet/thank her earlier this month at an artist talk she gave in La Jolla, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (in conjunction with a visiting artist program of UCSD's). She presented a slide-show/overview of her career's worth of work, peppered with some really great anecdotes. It was so fun to hear some of the stories that went along with her projects and process. She's an amazing artist, and a pretty funny lady. Here's one of the images she showed of her recent work, made after the passing of her Mother:

I believe this is related to the work wherein she represented plaques inscripted with the maladies claimed to have been cured by the Lourdes fountain's famed healing water. She added a blank plaque, symbolizing the fact that breast cancer, the disease that took Calle's Mother, was not listed as one of the fount's triumphs.

Her Mother was the center of another recent work, "Couldn't Capture Death," wherein Calle continuously videotaped her mother on her deathbed, in an effort to capture her last breath. As the title infers, she couldn't be sure of the exact moment, neither at the time nor via reviewing the film. While the description of this work almost sounded distasteful or sacrilegious, Calle was so loving and sincere when speaking about it. Moreover, she reported that her spirited Mother felt vindicated in finally being featured in Calle's work. (I think you can still find this video on YouTube, if you want to see it for yourself.) As for the issue of the work coming close to some kind of abstract personal boundary, if you know her work, you know this is nothing new. :)

I first learned of Sophie Calle when I was on a trip through Dublin in 2004. She had a retrospective at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and I was enamored. I still am.

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