An important new exhibition project marks the Castello di Rivoli’s march towards its thirtieth anniversary. It proposes a confrontation on the artist’s part with a venue full of history, to be related with her own personal experiences. This is the case for the exhibition the Castello dedicates to French artist Sophie Calle, an unchallenged protagonist on the international art scene, who presents a totally site-specific project for the monumental halls on the second floor of the Sabauda Residence. The exhibition focuses on two important projects the artist has carried forth for some years now: ‘Rachel, Monique’ and ‘Voir la mer’. The comparison of these significant projects proposes two itineraries that are both distinct and united, including works that revolve around themes of affection and emotion, of death, of the analogy mother|sea (madre|mare) at the root of this exhibition’s title: a sea that welcomes and gathers, covers and invests an immensity of contrasting feelings and emotions.
This artist has always worked with themes such as relationship break-ups and intimacy, and is able to effectively engage not only the emotions but also with the philosophical side of such topics, the reflections these produce. The use of personal experience may seem obsessive. The exhibition is made of objects, videos, and texts: a sort of mise en place and theatre arrangement without performance. Visitors can rediscover a course within the exhibition and in the end make it their own.
Since the late 1970s, Calle has used provocative and quite controversial methods, closely relating her own emotions with the phases and events in her own personal life. The Castello di Rivoli exhibition reveals the artist’s ‘image accumulator’ side together with her ability to make these totally essential, verging on minimal. Pure emotions.
The emotional aspect of the artist’s oeuvre does not overshadow the analytic one; the questions on what it means to not see, what not seeing is. There is an epic quality to the work of Calle, allowing us to share personal pain, with a freeing and mnemonic effect.