[October 24 2023]
Sophie Calle did what she does best in her celebration of the 50th anniversary of Picasso’s passing, showcasing her signature humour and wit. The journey across four floors plays with visitors’ expectations: no Picasso in sight, except for one, as a form of ironic consolation. Photographs feature wrapped paintings and sculptures leaving only their title or shape to see. In another room, she covers Picasso’s works with a semi-opaque veil which she overlays with an ekphrasis. It’s visual art without visuals. You can read the artworks, even touch some, but not always take photos of them. As the visit progresses, the experience transitions from blindness to voyeurism. Sophie Calle becomes increasingly bold: a pitch-black room displays a video of her mother on her deathbed. The mediums overlap in a joyful eclecticism, from photography to text, through unusual objects for an intimate and disjointed poetics (stuffed animals, Chanel suits, the “Sophie Calle Barbie”). All the possibilities of art are experimented with: the artwork as seen by the blind, representing your own death, making art out of everything. Calle honors Picasso, embracing his essence of joy, dark humour and will to power.
The exhibition is on view at Musée Picasso in Paris until January 7th, 2023.
Text and photos by Ewen Giunta