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'Appointment'- Sophie Calle, 1999.

Sophie Calle at The Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, NW3. 12 February - 28 March 1999.

Sophie Calle created a special installation at Sigmund Freud’s house using her personal keepsakes and texts juxtaposed with Freud's collection. Although used in previous projects, her texts or autobiographical stories with their associated artefacts, take on a completely new significance in the context to Freud's famous consulting room. This contains the original analytic couch on which patients would recline comfortably while Freud, out of sight, listened to their 'free association'. They were asked to say everything that came to mind without consciously sifting or selecting information and this became a foundation upon which psychoanalytic therapy was built.

Freud's study is also crowded with antiquities from ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Orient and the importance of the collection is also evident in Freud's use of archaeology as a metaphor for psychoanalysis. He liked to compare the uncovering of archaeological layers, and their interpretation and reconstruction, with analysis. Sophie Calle's investigation of her own childhood and adult memories is associated with specific objects from her personal museum and interwoven with her intimate texts. Her reference to certain highly significant, objects and emotionally charged events in her life have many parallels to Freud's own psychoanalytical theories and his collecting passion.

Extract from Ralph Rugoff - 'The culture of strangers - Financial Times - Feb. 1999

"Its hard to think of many contemporary artists whom Sigmund Freud would have welcomed into his cosy Hampstead Museum, but Sophie Calle would have to top the list. ... Composed from photos, objects and brief texts, her art often suggests extracts from a quirky case history. But whether chronicling eroticised childhood memories or an adult sex life in which fact and fiction merge, Calle reveals more about the wayward workings of desire than almost any artist - or analyst of her generation....But unlike the studied sobriety of the museum's displays, Calle's works strike a feverishly sexy note: printed on hot pink cards, her concise caption-like narratives tell of stolen love letters, shoplifted red shoes, and her wedding in a drive-through chapel in Las Vegas. ...It's a wonderfully unnerving tale, conflating images of innocence, sexuality, family and voyeurism. Not unlike the father of psychoanalysis, Calle is first and foremost a storyteller."

Sophie Calle text for Selected Images:

1st picture from top: Sophie Calle wearing Freud's original coat opening the door to his house in Maresfield.
Sophie Calle text:

"I was thirty, and my father thought I had bad breath. He made an appointment for me with a doctor whom assumed was a general practitioner. Except that the man I found myself facing was a psychoanalyst. Given the hostility my father always manifested towards this profession, my surprise was total. My first words were: "There must have been a mistake, my father is convinced I have bad breath and he sent me to a generalist." "Do you always do what your father tells you to do"? replied the man. I became his patient."

2nd picture from top: Sophie Calle's wedding dress on Freud's analylic couch.
Sophie Calle text:

"I always admired him. Silently, since I was child. One November 8th - I was thirty years old - he allowed me to pay him a visit. He lived several hundred kilometers from Paris. I had brought a wedding dress in my bag, white silk with a short train. I wore it on our first night together."

3rd picture from top: Sophie Calle's wax banana and ice creme desert on Freud's dining table.
Sophie Calle text:

"When I was fifteen I was afraid of men. One day in a restaurant, I chose a dessert because of its name: ‘Young Girl's Dream’. I asked the waiter what it was, and he answered: "It's a surprise." A few minutes later he returned with a dish featuring two scoops of vanilla ice cream and a peeled banana. He said one word: "Enjoy." Then he laughed. I closed my eyes the same way I closed them years later when I saw my first naked man."

4th picture from top: Sophie Calle's blond wig on Freud's hall table.

Sophie Calle text:

"I was six, I lived in a street named Rosa-Bonheur with my grandparents. A daily ritual obliged me every evening to undress completely in the elevator on my way up to the sixth floor where I arrived without a stitch on. Then I would dash down the corridor at lightening speed, and as soon as I reached the apartment I would jump into bed. Twenty years later I found myself repeating the same ceremony every night in public, on the stage of one of the strip joints that line the boulevard in Pigalle, wearing a blond wig in case my grandparents who lived in the neighbourhood should happen to pass by."

Maresfield Gardens
Sophie Calle's wax banana and ice creme desert on Freud's dining table.
Sophie Calle's blond wig on Freud's hall table.

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