return to, the home of critical reviews

Sophie Calle at Whitechapel Gallery London

From:     art reviews
Category: Art
Date:     03 November 2009
Time:     09:17 AM


The modern contemporary art gallery/museum is summed up in the overpriced cupcakes and 
brownies they serve in their many cafes and restaurant. These modish sweet confections are comfort 
food fetishized and served up with ubiquity. Sophie Calle's art is the appetizer for yet another 80% 
cocoa chocolate organic fudgey brownie. The crowds were craning their necks on their bourgeois 
Sunday outing to the culture centre, feeling Calle's pain, and enjoying the audacity with which she 
expressed it. Like reading a good bit of the Sunday Times, it's easy to identify with and hard not to be 
at least a little interested in how all those different women interpret her callous lover's rejection letter. 

Is it art? That tedious question which contains a germ of intelligent inquiry, it has little aesthetic quality, 
nothing to wow the synapses with what it looks like, just the well designed variation of the magazine 
layout. The interest is in the subject matter and it is an easy thing to sell and promote, we'd rather 
fritter our days away munching the eccentric recycyling of the personal as an interlude in our endless 
shopping and consuming of brownies, muffins, coffees and cupcakes, than think. Calle may not be 
making visual art but she gives tv and magazine a damned good run for their money. And we can 
always agonise over what organic locally sources ingredients we will purchase for our dinner if we 
feel insufficiently stimulated by our experience of yet another piece of art describing feelings, 
provoking empathy, rather than asking us to look.

return to, the home of critical reviews