ART: SOPHIE CALLE Take Care Of Yourself
When a boyfriend dumped her by email, French artist Sophie Calle asked 100 women to read and analyze his letter to her. Subsequently, the ex’s grammar and syntax were torn apart by a copy editor, his manners rubbished by an etiquette consultant and his lines pored over by Talmudic scholars. He was evaluated by a judge, shot up by a markswoman, second-guessed by a chess player, performed by actress Jeanne Moreau, and a forensic psychiatrist decided he was a “twisted manipulator”.
All of this as a part of her conceptual piece, a temple to a woman scorned, Take Care of Yourself (Prenez soin de vois), immortalising lines that Calle, if she hadn’t had direct access to the international art world, might have read again and again, alone and in tears, as have so many suffering from heartbreak.
At first it was therapy; then art took over. “After I month I felt better. There was no suffering. It worked. The project had replaced the man.” She feared he might come back seeking a reconciliation, which would have ruined the whole thing. He never did…
Interested in more about the artist? Here is a provocative INTERVIEW Magazine discussion with Calle.