February 5, 2015 - Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal - Sophie Calle and Simon Starling
February 5, 2015

Sophie Calle and Simon Starling

Top: Sophie Calle, Voir la mer (detail), 2011. Bottom: Simon Starling, Autoxylopyrocycloboros, 2006.*

For the Last and First Time by Sophie Calle
Simon Starling: Metamorphology

February 5–May 10, 2015

Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
185, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest
Montréal, Québec H2X 3X5 


The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) is energetically continuing the exciting new programming launched with its 50th anniversary as it hosts presentations by renowned artists Sophie Calle and Simon Starling. For the Last and First Time is a two-part exhibition by French conceptual artist Sophie Calle, who is one of the most important artists of her generation. The MAC also welcomes the exhibition Simon Starling: Metamorphology, an introduction to the work of this British artist, winner of the prestigious Turner Prize in 2005. The Sophie Calle and Simon Starling exhibitions run from February 5 to May 10, 2015. 

For the Last and First Time by Sophie Calle
Curator: Josée Bélisle

Internationally renowned artist Sophie Calle makes a splendid debut at the MAC with For the Last and First Time. This exhibition, which reveals great artistic sensibility, consists of two projects: The Last Image (2010), a series of photographs accompanied by texts, and Voir la mer (2011), a series of digital films. 

These two bodies of work are in some way a continuation of a piece produced by Calle in 1986, titled The Blind. In that case, the artist asked blind people to describe beauty. One of them answered: “The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen is the sea, an endless sea.” It was in Istanbul, years later, that Calle chose to pursue her poetic investigation of blindness, beauty and the sea. The installation, accompanied by the soothing sound of waves, first presents The Last Image, a series of photographs, tinged with melancholy, for which Calle asked people who had lost their sight suddenly to recall the last thing they saw. For Voir la mer, she managed to find residents of Istanbul—a city surrounded by water—who had never seen the sea. She filmed each of these captivating, memorable maritime encounters.

The presentation at the MAC is emblematic of the approach followed by an artist who, in works with complex narrative threads, gives universal resonance to subjects rooted in real-life experience. 

Simon Starling: Metamorphology
Curator: Lesley Johnstone

Although Simon Starling’s works have been shown extensively around the globe and may be found in the world’s leading collections, until recently he has never been the subject of a major North American exhibition. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Simon Starling: Metamorphology presents a survey of his output of the last decade or so. 

The show includes Bird in Space 2004 (2004), a two-tonne steel plate that intertwines two moments in time: a controversy over a Brancusi sculpture in 1923 and the U.S. government’s increase in the tax on imported steel in 2004; The Long Ton (2009), two blocks of marble, one Italian, the other Chinese, suspended from the ceiling; and Flaga 1972–2000 (2002), a Fiat 126 hung on the wall. The installation Project for a Masquerade (Hiroshima) (2010–11) features such disparate characters as James Bond, Henry Moore, Sir Anthony Blunt, Colonel Sanders and a Japanese Noh mask maker. Pictures for an Exhibition, a suite of 36 gelatin silver prints, exemplifies Starling’s two-pronged inquiry, one historical and the other photographic. Prompted by two archival photographs, he tracked the various peregrinations of sculptures by Constantin Brancusi, from their presentation in a 1927 exhibition at the Arts Club of Chicago to the present day. Once he found them, he photographed them in their current locations: private collectors’ homes, museum vaults and exhibition spaces.

Simon Starling: Metamorphology is curated by Dieter Roelstraete and organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Pictures for an Exhibition is a project organized by the Arts Club of Chicago.

*Top: Sophie Calle, Voir la mer (detail), 2011. © Sophie Calle / Adagp, Paris, 2015. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin and Paula Cooper Gallery. Bottom: Simon Starling, Autoxylopyrocycloboros, 2006. 38 color transparencies, Götschmann medium format slide projector, and flight case, 4 minutes, projected dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow.

Sophie Calle and Simon Starling at Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
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