While obviously indebted to the deadpan photo-text combinations of Conceptualism, Calle's art is as purely French at its core as the novels of Marguerite Duras and the films of Alain Resnais-an intimate exploration of memory, desire, and obsessive longing. The artist's primary method involves a perfectly calibrated interplay between narrative and image, both of which steadily approach their object of desire only to find another blind spot-that which can never be captured through language or representation. This work is the first segment of Calle's first work, The Sleepers (1979), in which the artist invited twenty-nine friends and acquaintances to sleep in her bed consecutively between April 1 and April 9, during which time she photographed them once an hour and kept notes recording each encounter. All the elements of Calle's art-from the voyeuristic inversion of the private sphere (rituals of the bedroom) and the public (the book or gallery wall) to the use of serial, repetitive structures-are present here in embryonic form.
Inscription: Each print inscribed by artist in ink below image. First print: "Gloria K. 1st sleeper. Sunday April 1st 1979. 5:30 P.M. Anne B., who must share the bed, is late --"; second print: "6.30 p.m."; third print: "7.30 p.m.--"; fourth print: "8.30 p.m. I wake them up with a meal: ham, eggs, noodles--"; fifth print: "Monday April 2nd. 1 a.m. They meet Bob Garrison who takes the next shift--"
Fifth print signed and inscribed by artist in ink, verso BR: "Gloria K et Anne B. Exemplaire Anglais 2/3 S. Calle--"
the artist; Olivier Renaud-Clement, New York City
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Series and Sequence: Modern Photographs from the Collection," October 24, 2006–April 22, 2007.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Dream States: Contemporary Photographs and Video," May 16, 2016–October 30, 2016.