Friday, 18 December 2009

Sophie Calle: Talking to Strangers, Whitechapel Gallery

Sophie Calle gave a letter to 107 female professionals asking them to interpret the text, in which her partner breaks up with her, according to their profession. The responses to the letter have been transformed into a work of conceptual art, each is visible through the exhibition.

I found the exhibition extremely interesting and spent a long time looking through all the interpretations. Below are a few examples:

School Girl

‘A man is talking to a woman and telling her his feelings.

He writes to tell her that he would like them to split up.

Complicated words - irreplaceable and masquerade

He loves her, don’t know why he’s leaving her’


‘No, I don’t see any reason to prescribe antidepressants for you.

You are simply sad.

A distressing event is bound to hurt but the appropriate solution is not a chemical one.

I’m sure you are strong enough to move on and find within yourself the resources to act and react.’


‘Why this letter will not be published in the newspaper.

- This letter hasn’t killed anyone

- This letter interests nobody

- This is letter is not a book

- This letter is not a letter

- This letter ended up in the bin

Riffle Shooter

Shot a bullet hole through each time the word ‘love’ was used in the letter

Graphic Designer

Folded the letter up into an origami form


‘Your “love” lasted only three or four seasons, and you didn’t even live together’


Was given the letter and then crumpled it up and ripped it up, throwing it away.

The parrot then said two lines of the letter ‘I have never lied to you’ and ‘take care of yourself’

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