Sophie Calle, For the Last and First Time
March 20 – June 30, 2013
Hara Museum of Contemporary Art
This exhibition consists of two parts. The Last Image (2011) is an installation that weaves together text and photographs taken by the artist about people who have lost the power of sight. Voir la mer (See the sea) captures on film the expression of persons seeing the ocean for the first time to the sound of waves. Calle’s installations quietly contemplate questions that she has been exploring since her work The Blind in 1986: What is beauty? What does it mean to see? The Voir la mer (See the sea) installation was moving and thought provoking.
“…My work Voir la Mer, meaning “to see the sea”. I found people in Istanbul who had never seen the sea before, despite living in a city surrounded by it. Then I took 15 people of all ages, from kids to one man in his 80s, to see it for the first time.
I went with each person individually, such as this man in his 30s. Before we arrived I made him cover his eyes. Once we were safely by the sea, I instructed him to take away his hands and look at it. Then, when he was ready – for some it was five minutes and for others 15 – he had to turn to me and let me look at those eyes that had just seen the sea.
I only took photographs of each person’s back but captured the whole process on video, including their facial reaction as they turned around. If I had stood in front of them it would not be the sea that they would see for the first time, but the camera instead. I felt that the back held a lot of emotion anyway, and it was stronger being behind them and watching the sea, like them.”
– Sophie Calle