|Video of Calle's mother's final moments before death (source: NY Times)|
|Calle's mother's final word spelled out with real butterflies. Her last words were "Ne vous faites pas de souci" or "Don't worry" (source: NY Times)|
|Photograph from the show (source: NY Times)|
This exhibition, a sequel to Calle’s one-person show at the Paula Cooper Gallery last October, is inspired by the loss of Calle’s mother Monique Sindler, who died in 2006:
She was successively called Rachel, Monique, Szyndler, Calle, Pagliero, Gonthier, Sindler. My mother liked to be the object of discussion. Her life did not appear in my work, and that annoyed her. When I set up my camera at the foot of the bed in which she lay dying – I wanted to be present to hear her last words, and was afraid that she would pass away in my absence – she exclaimed: “Finally!”
Installed in the church’s chapel, the exhibition presents a selection of artworks, including Couldn’t Capture Death, the artist’s film of her mother’s dying, which premiered at the 2007 Venice Biennale. Accompanying the works on view is a soundtrack composed of selected excerpts from Monique’s diaries, which she kept from the early 1980s through 2000.
The project is a first for the Church of the Heavenly Rest. “This show is a reverent and elegant tribute to the experience of death and loss, common to every human being. In “Rachel, Monique,” Sophie Calle lifts up the life that comes out of loss through elegiac images of memory, love, and the life she shared, and continues to share, with her mother through this installation. As a church that believes the spiritually ineffable is often best expressed through art, we are pleased to be invited into ‘remembering’ with her by hosting this deeply felt work,” says the Rev. Elizabeth Garnsey.
Described as “haunting” and “a mystery novel that tirelessly searches for a missing person,” Rachel, Monique is an ongoing project that Calle continues to expand upon. Versions of the project have previously been exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo (2010) and the Festival d’Avignon (2012) and have brought the artist international recognition.