Rachel, Monique

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Atelier EXB, 2012. First edition.
Hardcover clothbound, embroidered cover, 170 x240 mm, 204 pp., 102 color illustrations. Photographs and text by Sophie Calle (English). Edited by Emmanuelle Kouchner. Design by Xavier Barral.

Featured in The Photobook: A History volume III

Shortlisted for the Paris-Photo Aperture Foundation Best PhotoBook Award 2012

“She was successively called Rachel, Monique, Szyndler, Calle, Pagliero, Gonthier, Sindler. My mother liked people to talk about her. Her life did not appear in my work, and that annoyed her. When I set up my camera at the foot of the bed in which she lay dying – fearing that she would pass away in my absence, whereas I wanted to be present and hear her last words – she exclaimed: ‘Finally.’” Sophie Calle describes Monique through extracts from personal notebooks and photographs from family albums, and presents her installation created at the Palais de Tokyo in homage to her mother, who died in 2007. 

This book was above all designed as an authentic art object, in collaboration with the artist. The cover text is embroidered to create a precious object, and all of the texts relating to the installation are embossed so as to evoke the texture of certain works by Sophie Calle. It is a highly personal and moving book, while at the same time offering thoughts on death that all of us can relate to.


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