Surfaces and Strategies has been about focusing on what you do, how you do it and why you do it.

Within both theatre and photography, I look for inspiration and activities within my normal day. My processes are born out of what I read, feel and say.

Throughout this module, I have been asking myself, and others too, why I am looking to work with photography, and how it is important to my process. I don’t think I yet have an answer.

Two artists, and both very different, might provide illumination to these questions.

Sophie Calle, I have spoken about before, and she is very much an inspiration to me. Through Cemre Yesil (tutor for this module) I was introduced also to her work “Take Care of Yourself“: a work that explores the end of a relationship. But its not just Calle’s response, but the response of “107 women (as well as two hand puppets and a parrot), chosen for their profession or skills, to interpret the letter.” (Perrotin, 2007)

Any aspect of her own life is fair game—although, as Calle describes it, this personal material assumes the quality of fiction in the process. Her presentation style is suitably literary: Calle is a prodigious maker of books, and her exhibitions often pair image and text, as if they’re meant to be read as much as experienced. (Indrisek, 2019)

The other artist is Lauren E. Simonutti, an American photographer, who documented herself and her own mental illness. Her won artist statement outlines her process and intent.

Madness strips things down to their core. It takes everything and in exchange offers only more madness, and the occasional ability to see things that are not there….The problem with madness is that you can feel it coming but when you tell people you think you are going crazy they do not believe you. It is too distant a concept. (Alt, 2010)

What I feel, and what these two artists (and others) represent, is the examination of the everyday.

For Sophie Calle, while the work may begin from her own personal experience, it can become a life of its own, a fictionalised self, existing as its own being with Calle being the curator of the work.

People know I lost my parents, my cat, my boyfriend, so what? In the process of turning these experiences into art, they somehow become a type of fiction. (Indrisek, 2019)

With Lauren E. Simonutti, we have an artist able to articulate, through photography and writing, the effect of madness, or “rapid cycling, mixed state bipolar with schizoaffective disorder” (Alt, 2010), and from 2006 until her death in 2012, she resided in her home, creating and exploring the illness that kept her there.

It is this retrospective analysis, to understand and comprehend the past, while at the same time, move forward into the future that is of great interest to me. To hold two opposing views and then understand the emotions that are contained within.

References

Perrotin.com. 2020. Take Care Of Yourself Complete Set | Sophie CALLE (2007) | PERROTIN. [online] Available at: <https://www.perrotin.com/artists/Sophie_Calle/1/take-care-of-yourself-complete-set/12963> [Accessed 1 August 2020].

Indrisek, S., 2020. How Sophie Calle Got Her Start As An Artist. [online] Artsy. Available at: <https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-sophie-calle-start-artist> [Accessed 1 August 2020].

Alt, J., 2010. The Transformative Power Of Art ~ Lauren E. Simonutti. [online] Janefultonalt.blogspot.com. Available at: <http://janefultonalt.blogspot.com/2010/01/transformative-power-of-art-lauren-e.html> [Accessed 1 August 2020].