Sophie Calle – Take Care of Yourself

Calle’s Take Care of Yourself is a body of work that was made in response to a ‘Dear Jane’ email she received from her boyfriend, breaking off their relationship. The title of this body work is taken from his sign off “take care of yourself”. In this body of work she gives the letter to 107 women of various occupations, e.g. linguist, copy editor,  judge, markswoman, chess player, actress and clown to name just a few, and asked them to analyse the email from their professional standpoint.

I asked the participants to answer professionally, to analyze a breakup letter that I had received from a man. The parameters were fixed. For example, I wanted the grammarian to speak about grammar—I wanted to play with the dryness of professional vocabulary. I didn’t want the women expressing sentiment for me.

Calle, Interview Magazine

One of the interpretations can be seen in the video below (luckily there are English subtitles). Calle used various methods to interpret this letter. One of the woman who was asked to interpret the email created crossword puzzles as a profession and Calle photographed this crossword puzzle. Another woman was a singer who created a song in response.  One even responded in sign language.

This body of work is a prime example of not allowing the medium to limit the interpretation of the work.

Reference List

Calle, Sophie (2007) Take Care of Yourself (emma_la_clown- Prenez soin de vous) [user-generated content online] Creat. Penelope1967. 24 April, 2011. 5 mins 1 sec. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnW_trUPUmI (Accessed 17 April, 2017)

Neri, Louise (2009) Sophie Calle [online] Interview Magazine. Available at: http://www.interviewmagazine.com/art/sophie-calle#_ [Accessed 17 April, 2017]

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