Sunday, 6 November 2011

The (Un)Broken Worry

Ever since I came across Sophie Calle I have been intrigued by her quietly disarming work.

So the first thing I bought with the salary of a city pig was a limited edition of her glassplate Souci at the Whitechapel Gallery. Souci (English: worry) refers to the last words Calle's mother spoke before she died - "Ne vous faites pas de souci" (don't worry). Last year, different versions of the Souci glassplate figured in an exhibition in the Palais de Tokyo which focused on Calle's mother and included photos of her grave and a video of the last 15 minutes of her life. 

The other day my Souci fell from the wall and broke into a hundred shards. I was tempted to wail out in pain (OK, I did), but the irony did not escape me. I decided to see the fragile memento mori as a lesson. I took some photos of the remains and binned them along with my regrets.

When at the Frieze Art Fair a couple of weeks later (see article) I got talking to a lady from the Whitechapel Gallery. I mentioned the incident in passing and was stunned when she offered me a free replacement. She emailed me days later saying that my new edition would be number 140/150 (the only one she had left), when I realised my broken plate had been number 14/150.

I am not sure what, but I think Ms Calle is trying to tell me something.