Sophie Calle – Dead End

Château La Coste is delighted to announce a programme dedicated to the French artist Sophie Calle, which will go on view this summer.


After carefully taking the time to walk through the domain, Sophie Calle has created a grave that is both an installation and a site for performance in the Provençal woods. This piece entitled Dead End continues themes the artist has explored in her previous works realised for the cemeteries of Geneva and Brooklyn. Death, loss and love arequestions broached in Sophie Calle’s work and most particularly how we handle theseemotions, both in public and in private. Similar subjects are addressed in the two exhibitions which accompany this permanent installation.

Série Noire

The 46 framed books of Série Noire (Black Series) include questions, How do you deal with your dead ? In an electronic address book, do you delete an acquaintance’s name but do you keep your mother’s ? What do you feel when you hit the button: Delete contact ? that Sophie Calle has associated with the individual titles, such as The BigSleep, The Dead Don’t Care, Farewell My Lovely, Finish me Off.

In the Old Wine Storehouse, this new project is presented alongside Les Tombes (The Graves), black and white images of tombstones installed on the floor. This series assembles photographs taken in a Californian cemetery during a trip made at the beginning of the artist’s career. Additionally, works from the series Ma mère, mon chat, mon père, dans cet ordre (My mother, my cat, my father, in that order) will also be exhibited, some of which have been made for the occasion of this exhibition.

Exquisite Pain 

In the Renzo Piano Pavilion, Calle will install her landmark piece Douleur Exquise (Exquisite Pain) shown for the first time in France since its conception in 2004 for the Centre Pompidou. This work is divided into two parts: Avant la douleur (Before pain)and Après la douleur (After pain).

In 1984, the artist obtained a bursary to study in Japan. She left France on 25 October without knowing that this was the beginning of a 92-day countdown to a banal break, experienced as the most painful moment in her life.

On her return to France, she chose by conjuration to recount her suffering rather than her journey, and in exchange she asked those who listened, friends or acquaintances the question: When have you suffered the most ? The artist decided that this exchange would cease when she had exhausted her own story through telling it so many times, or release her pain in the company of others.