Sophie Calle
Born in 1953 in Paris (France).
Lives in Malakoff (France).
Anatoli, 1984
Photographs, framed photograph, graphite pencil
Courtesy of the Paula Cooper Gallery, New York and
Arndt & Partner, Berlin
The French artist Sophie Calle is an established master and passionate researcher of love and the emotion of love, which is the theme of most of the pieces of her abundant work. The present piece is especially interesting because the story in its base has to do with Russia, and is developed in the constricted space of a two-seat train compartment travelling the Trans-Siberian railway in 1984. The author's description of the meeting with Anatoly, the director of a kolkhoz near Vladivostok, is as any encounter – a promise of human contact. The French philosopher Alain Badiou gives an encounter the status of an event – "something that does not enter into the immediate order of things", which comes as an unexpected "love's surprise" and can become its start and flourish. Love begins with "the contingent and chance aspect of an encounter", but this randomness can be locked in time later, to become "a declaration of eternity" without which love is impossible. Contrary to common opinion, love is not a process in which two individuals lose their differences becoming one. Each person, notes Michael Hardt, is a multiplicity, which has to do with more general structures such as sex, race, religion, social class etc. This means that the meeting of two individuals is the meeting of multiplicities that enter a relationship with each other to create new compositions that will always be superior to the individual level. He continues to write: "We can never know in advance what multiplicities will agree and together form beautiful, lasting relationships. The procedure of love is to explore and experiment with possible compositions among the multiplicities in each of us".
artistic director of the project: Viktor Misiano
National Center for Contemporary Arts
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center
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