Sophie Calle: The Address Book
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Sophie Calle: The Address Book

by Sophie Calle
     
 

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The Address Book, a key and controversial work in Sophie Calle's oeuvre, lies at the epicenter of many layers of reality and fiction. Having found a lost address book on the street in Paris, Calle copied the pages before returning it anonymously to its owner. She then embarked on a search to come to know this stranger by contacting listed individuals--in

Overview

The Address Book, a key and controversial work in Sophie Calle's oeuvre, lies at the epicenter of many layers of reality and fiction. Having found a lost address book on the street in Paris, Calle copied the pages before returning it anonymously to its owner. She then embarked on a search to come to know this stranger by contacting listed individuals--in essence, following him through the map of his acquaintances. Originally published as a serial in the newspaper Libération over the course of one month, her incisive written accounts with friends, family and colleagues, juxtaposed with photographs, yield vivid subjective impressions of the address book's owner, Pierre D., while also suggesting ever more complicated stories as information is parsed and withheld by the people she encounters. Collaged through a multitude of details--from the banal to the luminous, this fragile and strangely intimate portrait of Pierre D. is a prism through which to see the desire for, and the elusivity of, knowledge. Upon learning of this work and its publication in the newspaper, Pierre D. expressed his anger, and Calle agreed not to republish the work until after his death. Until then, The Address Book had only been described in English--as the work of the character Maria Turner, whom Paul Auster based on Calle in his novel Leviathan; and in Double Game, Calle's monograph which converses with Auster's novel. This is the first trade publication in English of The Address Book (Gemini G.E.L. in Los Angeles released a suite of lithographs modeled on the original tabloid pages from Libération in an edition of 24). The book has the physical weight and feel of an actual address book with a new design of text and images which allow the story to unfold and be savored by the reader.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Distinguished French writer and artist Calle investigates the construction of identity and how we are perceived through the eyes of others in this quirky, thoughtful work. Available for the first time in English since its controversial French publication in 1983, the book documents how, after stumbling across a lost address book belonging to a stranger named Pierre D., Calle sets out to understand its owner. She goes through his contacts randomly and arranges interviews to learn about Pierre: his likes and dislikes, personality, and past. As the book moves through Calle’s narration of each interview, a touching portrait of Pierre, an aspiring filmmaker, emerges. Calle, who is known for her explorations of privacy and the connections between strangers, composes a character study rendered through shifting perspectives on a brilliant but lonely individual. The project resembles a real-life detective story, though one refracted through the voices of friends and acquaintances, as the man himself remains a mystery and obsession for Calle. Accompanying the interviews are photographs that create an atmosphere of loss and absence as we see Pierre and his environment only from oblique angles. Printed to resemble an address book in its own right, the volume and its contents yield an experimental work of art that has emotional and intellectual heft as it blurs the tenuous line between fact and fiction. 26 b&w and 2 color illus. (Oct.)
LA Review of Books - Lauren O'Neill-Butler
The Address Book is never about one thing. One the one hand it is a simple character study and straightforward conceptual art project (task-based with a priori scheme, black-and-white documentation, and text). On the other, it’s an unsettling confessional story with deeply erotic subject matter. It unnerves readers by striking a balance between submission and control, winding them through a maze of seduction and pursuit only to leave them deprived of fulfillment.
Bookforum - Heidi Julavits
Given the ease with which we can access the lives of strangers in 2012, Calle's snooping might register as a quaint trespass from another era, an analog and ultimately harmless kind of proto-Facebooking. But her old-school sleuthing is daring, more so than it was in her earlier projects, such as Suite venitienne, in which Calle followed strangers, and La Filature, for which she hired a detective to tail her. The Address Book's adventure is riskier and more unpredictable.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780979956294
Publisher:
Siglio
Publication date:
09/30/2012
Pages:
104
Sales rank:
722,008
Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 5.30(h) x 0.60(d)

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