Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.
Sophie Calle «L’Hotel» | The Shadow
Sophie Calle, «L’Hotel»
The Shadow, 1981 | Photography | © Sophie Calle
Open as full size image
Photographies of the detective. Source: Sophie Calle: Double Game. With the participation of Paul Auster, London: Violette Editions 1999.


Works by Sophie Calle:

The Shadow


 Sophie Calle

In 1981, Sophie Calle spent three weeks working as chambermaid in a hotel in Venice. This allowed her to spy on the guests. Like a detective or crime photographer, she photographs the momentarily unoccupied hotel rooms: she photographs the unmade or never slept in beds, the stray items left in bathrooms, the contents of suitcases and closets; she reads letters left lying in the open, takes photographs of the guests, and does even more. Sophie Calle published the photographs within the diary-like report of her ‹observations,› in the book entitled «Ecrit sur l’image. L’Hotel». Calle turns the viewer or reader into an accomplice of her voyeurism – filling them, too, with the urge to move unobserved through another’s private sphere. Like with many of Sophie Calle’s works, photographs and texts exist in a circular self-referring structure: the objects that Calles mentions in the text are found again in the photographs, but their role as evidence is first established through the telling of the story, whose believability lies solely in the hands of the artist.

Publication: Sophie Calle: L’Hôtel, Paris, 1984


Susanne Holschbach