Performance in Sophie Calle's Prenez soin de vous

TitrePerformance in Sophie Calle's Prenez soin de vous
Publication TypeArticle de revue
Année de Publication2013
AuthorsShirley Jordan
PériodiqueFrench Cultural Studies
Date de publication2013/08

This article analyses performance in the work of French project artist Sophie Calle, focusing in detail on the major installation Prenez soin de vous (2007). It argues that performance, which is key to debates about postmodern self-narrative and central to an understanding of Calle’s corpus from the outset, is taken into new terrain with this project, since its scope, variety and ambitious collective dimension become ways not of scrutinising but rather of evacuating the autobiographical subject. The article connects the performativity of Prenez soin de vous with recent post-feminist returns to the romance narrative, explores its indebtedness to representations of the scene of reading in Western art, and also argues for an evaluation of the comic in Calle’s work. Its detailed assessment of Prenez soin de vous as performance is based on the installation as curated in the Salle Labrouste of the former Bibliothèque nationale de France (2008) and an argument is presented for the special significance of this location to Calle’s project.