I am an artist trying to provocate through different situations, to use them as a tool in order to make a work of art. Sometimes it is through using life and text or images. I have a tendency to work with quite arbitrary situations.
I don't think so. For me these are banal situations. My mother dies, a man leaves me: there is nothing extraordinary or different about these things that happen to many people. I don't have a particular feeling that I want to shock anyone. On the contrary, when I was asking blind people about their memory of the last time they saw something I was very afraid that it would be a cruel thing to do. That was, until I asked the first blind person and for him it was so natural a question I realised that it was provocative for people who could see but not for the blind themselves.
The very beginning of the idea is the most exciting for me. Finding a shape for it is very exciting because you realise an idea can become something that can stand on a wall and take on a life. I have many ideas but for many of those there will be no answer and I won’t ever have a feeling that it will work.
I don’t do any of my work for sociological reasons. I do it for artistic reasons. In the same way I don't do things for therapeutic reasons but sometimes it happens to have a side effect that is therapeutic. That is the cherry but not the motor. The wall is the motor for me; I want to create something that talks to people as art or poetry; that can stand on a wall as art.
It depends on the project. For Voir la mer it had to be video in order to capture the look of the people and their sadness. Photography would have been too restrictive. There is also no text as I realised that words were not necessary.
If I had been in front of them it would have been like reality television. You see it all through their eyes when they turn around so you don't want to watch their eyes as they see it for themselves. It was so moving to be behind them. I could see every detail in their back, in their movement. I was watching the sea with them. There was more emotion from their back than seeing them face on.
It is to go on. The biggest challenge is to keep doing things and keep excited about what I do and have good ideas. When I create I look for an idea, I don't search for anything else.
There is no rule. Everything everywhere can be an idea. The idea of people looking at the sea came in one minute from reading the newspaper. With Unfinished it was 16 years before I found the shape while Take care of yourself took one day. Finding the idea is the start but after that, to make it is something else. For example, I realised that with Unfinished it was the impossibility of finding an idea that was the story. The real story was my failure so failure became the subject.
I have a notebook or sometimes I tape it, whatever I have with me at the time.
Each one had its own elements. Take care of yourself had many difficult elements to it but The address book was the most violent to make. No sex last night was the most difficult because the man I loved didn't talk to me but we still had to make a movie together. We had to understand what each other thought while the relationship was a disaster but we had to stay together for the project.
Secret is difficult too because it is asking a couple to each put a secret in a separate safe and keep the secrets within reach. It also includes a legal contract describing when it is or is not a work of art and takes care of what happens if one of the couple dies or if I die. Ideally I will find a couple and I will close the safes and they will live with the frustration and game.
No. I work with text and images so it depends on the project. Often text is more important and images just complement it. For Unfinished it was the image that took on an importance but in many situations the text is the living part and I fill it with an image. I work more on the text than on the images. Ten lines can take me six months because I am more careful with the text.
Every artist plays with the space and context and here yes, the people watching the sea in my videos are facing the sea in Hong Kong. My projects about money, well, you can answer that yourself. —[O]
Sophie Calle's exhibition at Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong until 10 January, 2015.