Sophie CalleBecause

Using text and photographs, the artist upends the usual order in which images are read, creating a poetic surprise.

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present Sophie Calle: Because, an exhibition of new works on view for the first time in the U.S. In each piece, a felt curtain embroidered with Calle’s writing conceals a hidden photograph behind it. In presenting viewers with the text before the picture, Calle upends the usual order in which images are read, creating a poetic surprise or puzzle. The exhibition is Calle’s fourth at Fraenkel Gallery and will be on view from January 23 to March 13, 2020.

For almost forty years, Calle has made work that exposes intimate experience to public view, using still images, video, film, books, performance and text. Her work has often drawn from difficult moments in her personal life. “In the process of turning these experiences into art, they somehow become a type of fiction,” she has said.

José Tomás, 2018
pigment print, embroidered woolen cloth, wooden box, 19 x 15 x 3 inches (overall) [49 x 38 x 7 cm], edition of 3 in English & 3 in French

Subjects include the North Pole depicted in blue darkness, in a picture Calle made “Because that’s what you do when you are at the ends of the earth,” the text explains. She photographed the Spanish bull fighter José Tomás “Because for the first time in my life, I’m about to ask for an autograph,” she confesses. In Without Child , 2018, Calle quotes a description of herself that she found online: “‘Sophie Calle, artist without child by choice,’” pairing it with a photograph of herself holding a baby to her open blouse, as if to nurse. She posed with the infant “By pure mischief, because one happens to be around,” her text states.

David, 2018
pigment print, embroidered woolen cloth, wooden box, 17 x 23 x 3 inches [43 x 58 x 7 cm]

Concurrent with Because, Fraenkel Gallery will present a selection of work from the gallery’s archives, curated by Sophie Calle. The presentation, which includes work by Diane Arbus, Sophie Calle, Lee Friedlander, Nan Goldin, Katy Grannan, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Alec Soth and Garry Winogrand, focuses on images that highlight complicated relationships between couples and pairs.

In connection with the exhibition Sophie Calle: Because, on view from January 23 to March 13, 2020, Calle discusses her inspiration for this series, which pairs embroidered texts and the photographs they describe.
Duration: 03:08 | Release Date: Feb 2020

Works on View

Ask About the Works in this Exhibition