“I realized it was their own mother they were seeing”
|December 2, 2010|
Rachel/Monique, 2010. © ADAGP, 2010. Courtesy of Emmanuel Perrotin
From Art in America:
PFEIFFER: You have produced numerous pieces and shows about your mother. Why did you decide to work on her again?
CALLE: Because I realized that she had traveled through my work everywhere except New York and Paris, which were her two favorite cities. Showing the film of her death was feasible in a smaller gallery, surrounded with other works, but in such a space, it didn’t work on its own and so I looked for pieces to accompany it. And since I have many pieces linked to my mourning of my mother, I could put up an entire show.
PFEIFFER: What would your mother’s reaction have been?
CALLE: If I did it, it’s because I knew she would have liked it. She liked to be the center of attention; she would have loved to see her name on the poster. You see her dying calmly, softly, imperceptibly. If she had died in pain, I would have never showed that. I did this show because it was in my nature to do it, and because to me it was homage, not an instrumentalization of her corpse.
PFEIFFER: Is the show inevitably addressing every viewer’s own mother?
CALLE: You tell me. I was talking to mine, but if I’m addressing everyone’s mother, that’s wonderful. My starting point was mine, I wanted to think about her and show her. But when I saw people’s reaction, in Venice or here, I realized it was their own mother they were seeing. I heard people crying, I saw a woman who stayed there for two hours and who I had to take out of the show myself.
Make any cento you want! But try to make it as good as you want it to be. You don’t really want Seidel’s freedom. His poems are licensed by privilege, prestige and money — lots of all three. His deliberate transgressions look like power — to poets, any use of power looks like freedom. But I just read all Seidel’s work, straight through, and I think he’s wearing golden handcuffs.
Pale Youths in Love
I remember when I was a pre-teen and they moved into a loft across the street from me in Tribeca, where I lived. And an older neighbor friend told me they were living in her building, on the top floor. I saw him at my corner deli, and on the street smoking, but never her. At night, I sometimes looked up at their windows and saw their lights on. He was not very impressive in person. Cute, but no big deal.
What is Work?
Without a written record, we cannot know with certainty how the earliest humans thought about work, but the importance of sharing food and other resources means that prehistoric work embodied at least an element of serving the needs of a community rather than just those of an individual and his or her immediate family.
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