534 W 21st Street
NEW YORK—The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to present Sophie Calle: Double Game. This exhibition will be on view at 534 West 21st Street, from 24 February to 24 March, 2001.
The Rules of the Game
In his novel, Leviathan, Paul Auster thanks me for having authorized him to mingle fact with fiction. And indeed, on pages 65 to 74 of his book, he uses a number of episodes from my life to create a fictive character named Maria, who then leaves me to live out her own story. Intrigued by this double, I decided to turn Paul Auster’s novel into a game and to make my own particular mixture of reality and fiction.
The life of Maria and how it influenced the life of Sophie
In Leviathan, Maria puts herself through the same rituals as I did. But Paul Auster has slipped some rules of his own invention into the portrait of Maria. In order to bring Maria and myself closer together, I decided to go by the book. The author imposes on his creature a chromatic regimen which consists in restricting herself to foods of a single colour on any given day. I followed his instructions. He has her base whole days on a single letter of the alphabet. I did as she does.
The life of Sophie and how it influenced the life of Maria
These rituals that Paul Auster borrowed from me to shape Maria are: The Wardrobe, The Striptease, Suite vénitienne, The Detective, The Hotel, The Address Book and The Birthday Ceremony. Leviathan gives me the opportunity to present the artistic projects that inspired the author, and which Maria and I now share.
One of the many ways of mingling fiction with reality, or how to become a character out of a novel
Since, in Leviathan, Paul Auster took me as a subject, I imagined swapping roles and taking him as the author of my actions. I asked him to invent a fictive character which I would attempt to resemble. I was in effect inviting Paul Auster to do what he wanted with me, for a period of up to a year at most. He objected that he did not want to take responsibility for what might happen when I acted out the script he had created for me. He preferred to send me ‘Personal Instructions for SC on How to Improve Life in New York City (Because she asked…)’ I followed his directives. This project is entitled Gotham Handbook.
The exhibition will close on 24 March 2001 with a performance by Calle, in which the artist will consult the public.
Since her first pieces in the late 1970s, Sophie Calle has achieved international prominence. Her work has been shown in such venues as the Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston), the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Museum Boymans van Beuningen (Rotterdam), the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo), among others. This occasion marks Calle’s first one-person exhibition at Paula Cooper Gallery, and the first time Double Game is shown in the United States.