Christina Wilson

Sophie Calle and Navid Nuur

27 Aug - 30 Sep 2010

Sophie Calle, Where and When? Lourdes
Navid Nuur, The Other Another

We are proud to be able to present the second part of Sophie Calle's series of works, Where and When? The work is made up of a large installation consisting of framed texts, photographs, marble posters, neon signs, etc.

In the first part of the series, now on show in Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Sophie Calle's clairvoyant sent her to the seaside town of Berck in northern France. In this second part, entitled Where and When? Lourdes, Sophie Calle has been sent on another trip on instructions from her clairvoyant, this time to the French town of Lourdes, located at the foot of the Pyrenees. The town is one of the most important Catholic places of pilgrimage, attracting around six million pilgrims every year, because it was here that the Virgin Mary appeared in a cave to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858.

Like a pawn in a game, Calle allows herself to be willingly led around by the clairvoyant's visions, and so she sets off for the town of Lourdes to ask a question of the Virgin. Calle books into a hotel with a mountain view – as the Tarot cards specified she should. She goes to Mass, receives Communion, and subsequently meets the priest. The final task the clairvoyant has asked Calle to perform in Lourdes is to go to the grotto, light a candle, and talk to the Virgin Mary. Calle feels this is a major challenge, and she is worried about how it will go. But contrary to her expectations, the task turns out not to be so difficult to perform. Calle watches how the woman before her behaves, and copies her.

Sophie Calle often uses herself as the focal point of her works, and this is also the case in the work series Where and When. Her works are frequently composed of photographs or objects, combined with a text which in various ways both reveals and obscures the relationship between fact and fiction. The observer is always confronted with the dilemma of determining the degree to which Calle's narrative works actually reflect reality.

In addition to this large work, the exhibition also includes several other works, such as individual pieces from the major work Take Care of Yourself, including the clairvoyant Maud Kristen and the editions The Bronx, The Address Book, Los Angeles and The Dice.

Sophie Calle (b.1957) is one of France's most prominent contemporary artists, and was this year awarded the prestigious Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. Since June, she has held a major exhibition at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, including the major work Take Care of Yourself, which was exhibited in the French pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007. Calle is represented in most large art galleries all over the world.

It is also a great pleasure to present an exhibition by the Iranian/Dutch artist Navid Nuur.

In the project room, we are showing several of Navid Nuur's subtle works in the exhibition The Other Another. Nuur does not describe his works as either sculpture or site-specific installations, but rather as "interimodules" – a combination of the word interim and modules. The term refers to his conceptual workflow and to the interim time associated with the procedural character of his works.

`The work Another State of Focus ́ (2008-2009) consists of a plastic tube, nails, tape and the exhibition catalogue from Liste 09. This is transformed into a darts game, with the catalogue pages torn out and rolled up around nails, allowing them to be used as darts. The tube is used as a blowpipe, and the 'dartboard' is a specially-selected page from the catalogue. The objects are individually insignificant, but when combined in this special way, according to the artist's ideas, they acquire a performative character.

For Navid Nuur, the relationship between the artistic concept and the work's form plays a decisive role. The conceptual idea is more important than the form, but the form develops on the basis of specific rules. On top of this comes Nuur's use of titles to emphasise the link between concept and form. An example is `A black dark ridge found under a baseboard, stuffed with the absorbed colours, which made the ridge turn black in the first place ́ (2005-2008). The black, invisible gap between the panel and the floor is marked with small colourful balls – a marking which at the same time conceals that which it marks.

Navid Nuur often uses ordinary everyday objects as the basic material for his works, extracting them from their usual context and giving them new meanings. Examples might be Polaroid photographs, food, a rubbish container, packaging taken from past shows, or oasis blocks. The latter can be seen in the work `Untitled ́ (2007-2009), which consists simply of two oasis blocks. Nuur has transformed these flower arrangement materials into works of art by literally leaving his 'mark' upon them, and thereby giving them a sculptural character. These objects, too, are 'invisible' in normal use, but as Nuur changes them physically, they become transformed.

`We share air ́ is a classic example of Nuur's sophisticated humour, which comes to expression in many of his works. The text is printed on badges that the exhibition visitor must wear. This shifts the work and the humour out of the exhibition space, and everyone who is confronted with the text's straightforward message becomes aware of this small but significant communication.

Navid Nuur was born in Tehran in 1976, and has studied in Britain and the Netherlands. Today, he lives and works in Den Haag. He has held several solo exhibitions, including at the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst in Ghent and Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel.

Tags: Sophie Calle, Navid Nuur