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Sophie Calle: Because

January 23, 2020 @ 10:30 am - March 14, 2020 @ 5:00 pm


Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present Sophie Calle: Because, an exhibition of new works on view for the first time in the U.S. In each piece, a felt curtain embroidered with Calle’s writing conceals a hidden photograph behind it. In presenting viewers with the text before the picture, Calle upends the usual order in which images are read, creating a poetic surprise or puzzle. The exhibition is Calle’s fourth at Fraenkel Gallery and will be on view from January 23 to March 21, 2020.

For almost forty years, Calle has made work that exposes intimate experience to public view, using still images, video, film, books, performance and text. Her work has often drawn from difficult moments in her personal life. “In the process of turning these experiences into art, they somehow become a type of fiction,” she has said.

Because is part of Calle’s ongoing exploration of the relationship between narrative, memory, and photography, and mixes humor and melancholy with her particular eye for irony. Subjects include the North Pole depicted in blue darkness, in a picture Calle made “Because that’s what you do when you are at the ends of the earth,” the text explains. She photographed the Spanish bull fighter José Tomás “Because for the first time in my life, I’m about to ask for an autograph,” she confesses. In Without Child , 2018, Calle quotes a description of herself that she found online: “‘Sophie Calle, artist without child by choice,’” pairing it with a photograph of herself holding a baby to her open blouse, as if to nurse. She posed with the infant “By pure mischief, because one happens to be around,” her text states.

Concurrent with Because, Fraenkel Gallery will present a selection of work from the gallery’s archives, curated by Sophie Calle. The presentation, which includes work by Diane Arbus, Katy Grannan, Peter Hujar, and Garry Winogrand, among others, focuses on images that highlight complicated relationships between couples and pairs.

Because will travel to the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum in Tokyo, from October 24, 2020 to January 19, 2021, and to the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, from November 11 to February 14, 2021.

Sophie Calle (b. 1953) lives and works in Paris. Her work utilizes a range of media to explore the nature of love, intimacy, loss and grief. Starting with her 1979 Suite Vénitienne, in which she followed a man to Venice and documented her surveillance of him, Calle has blended autobiography with fiction. In 2007, she represented France at the Venice Biennale with the exhibition Take Care of Yourself, which subsequently traveled to museums in ten countries and was accompanied by a major publication. Her work has been shown in museums around the world, and is in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and Tate, London, among many others. In 2019, Calle received the Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal and in 2017, she was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize and received an Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography. In 2010 she was the recipient of the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography.


January 23, 2020 @ 10:30 am
March 14, 2020 @ 5:00 pm
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Fraenkel Gallery
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Sophie Calle
Jeffrey Fraenkel & Frish Brandt
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Fraenkel Gallery
49 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94108 United States
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