Sophie Calle

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  • Sophie Calle is a conceptual artist, installation artist and photographer.
  • Born in Paris, France, 1953
  • 38-year career
  • Her work is extremely confessional.
  • The central themes include vulnerability, loss, and death.
  • Her father offered to pay for her to travel as a prize for completing a degree under philosopher Jean Baudrillard, whose work I’ve studied in English. Baudrillard agreed to fake her diploma so she could do so.
  • She returned to Paris in 1978 after travelling. With her mother now on her third marriage, she moved in with her father. To impress her father, the art collector, she began to make art, but she initially struggled to get into a routine.
  • Bizarrely, the thing that catalysed her practice as we now know it was essentially the habit of stalking. She began following a different person each day, with one such person leading her all the way to Venice – this excursion later became her piece “Suite Venetienne.” In becoming invested in other people’s lives, she found a path for her own.
  • Even her own home is a work of art. She decorated the home she lives in now in 1979, and she filled it with several works of taxidermy, including a stuffed giraffe’s head which she named after her mother. She also has a tiger named after her father.
Sophie Calle With Giraffe Head
Sophie Calle in her home, with her stuffed giraffe named after her mother.



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