I’m not an object. I’m Sophie Calle, an artist. 49
In de Believer – een Amerikaans maandblad dat als belangrijkste motto heeft: de lengte van een artikel doet er niet toe – is een interview verschenen met de Franse kunstenares Sophie Calle naar aanleiding van haar expositie ‘Room’ in oktober vorig jaar. Voor die installatie richtte ze een hotelkamer in in het luxueuze Lowell Hotel in Upper East Side in New York City.
BLVR: There’s a book called Creativity that a Hungarian psychology professor wrote. He was interviewing all sorts of people in scientific and artistic fields, trying to understand what the creative personality was—his name is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi—and he decided that
while most people are either introverts or extroverts, or people are either smart or naive—you know, at one end of these poles—the artist actually contains both
poles. They are simultaneously opposites. Do you feel this is true?
SC: [Very quietly] I don’t know. I don’t know. I must be many things simultaneously, but not because I’m an artist, you know. Because I’m a human. Even my cat is simultaneously many things.
BLVR: Do you have an idea of yourself as an object, or do you feel—
SC: As an object?
BLVR: Well, all around us there are these objects that you’ve chosen to represent
different parts of your life and yourself. Do you understand yourself to be an object like the things in the room?
SC: No. I’m not an object. I’m Sophie Calle, an artist. 49
BLVR: I wonder if you’re interested at all in the idea of an “interior,” because I see so much of your work as being about this exterior—
SC: That’s not interior? [Points at the wedding cake on the table] This? [Points at the empty coffee cup nearby]
BLVR: Well, I’m a fiction writer, and for me there is this idea that I have of an interior where there is this deeper, deeper, and then there is the exterior where it’s more the world of things. Sometimes I criticize myself and think I should be more interior. Or more exterior.
SC: I don’t know what it means.
BLVR: So there’s no difference?
SC: It’s not that there’s no difference. I don’t understand the question. For me, with interior things, sometimes it can be a very silly project. Or there can be very deep projects
that don’t express what I think. You are too much—you always think it’s like that or like that or like that!
BLVR: [Laughs] It’s true. My friends—
SC: I don’t think this way. Maybe in a work that looks really tragic I have no feeling! You know, it’s not about telling my life, it’s not about telling you truth. It’s not the truth, obviously. It happened, but it’s not truth. Because when I tell a story, one hour after—it’s not the truth. It’s
an editing. It’s finding the nice words, writing poetically, having a style. So it’s not about telling the truth.
BLVR: Can art ever tell a truth—the truth?
SC: I don’t know.
BLVR: Can people tell the truth?
SC: The truth? Which truth? Your truth? Their truth? The truth today at two o’clock
in New York, or the truth tomorrow at five o’clock in Paris? The truth now that
it’s raining? What does it mean? Me, I would say things happened or didn’t happen, but I would not say that’s the truth.
BLVR: So is there a use for that word?
SC: Oh, I don’t know. Ask a philosopher, but not me. This is not the kind of question I ask myself.