The Musée d’Orsay is devoting an exhibition to the artist Sophie Calle, entitled Les Fantômes d’Orsay, from March 15 to June 12, 2022. An unprecedented dive into the history of the artist who lived in the heart of the Hotel d’Orsay, deserted, before the start of work transforming the station into a museum.

Like an archaelogical space

In 1978, the Gare d’Orsay and its hotel were deserted. Construction work on the future museum has not yet begun. It was at this moment that Sophie Calle pushed open a door which yielded and chose an abandoned room, 501, as a shelter. She spent whole days there, for several months, before her departure for Venice, which would mark the beginning of his future work. During this stay, she feels the desolation of a place, like an archaeological space where everything has been abandoned. She takes photos, invites her friends, collects documents, objects, customer files which are all open lives, notes addressed to a hotel employee, named Oddo, whose identity she imagines.

Sophie Calle exhibition at the Musée d'Orsay
Les fantômes de Sophie Calle

The ghostly ensemble of the Musée d’Orsay

« Les fantômes d’Orsay » is a total work of Sophie Calle, weaving a permanent back and forth between her beginnings and all of her creation : we find there the multiplicity of forms she adopts, from photography to poetry. , from ready-made to composition, to collaboration, and its unique ability to weave stories, to permanently hold together the personal journey and the multiplicity of a place, a story, and each and every one of them. ‘between us. Museum visitors will return to the now defunct hotel, just as Sophie Calle immersed herself in the museum after living in the hotel. It will reveal the ghostly ensemble of the Musée d’Orsay, where the ghosts are those of all the people and all the works that have passed through it. It will allow us to feel the depth of a place and the very texture of the museum, at the same time immediately present, apparently temporal, and yet which has changed so much through the life of Sophie Calle – through forty years of collective life.

Excavated objects

Photographs, objects, customer files… so many supports offered here to visitors, allowing them to discover « the personal traces of the experience lived by Sophie Calle and by all those and all those who stayed there, worked there, and of whom she has picked up the tiny and moving signs ». Objects that become « excavated objects and ready-mades, traces of a past so close in time and yet so distant ». A total work to discover, for all photography lovers!

Orsay Museum

1 Rue de la Legion d’Honneur,

75007 Paris

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