Any aspect of her own life is fair game—although, as Calle describes it, this personal material assumes the quality of fiction in the process. Her presentation style is suitably literary: Calle is a prodigious maker of books, and her exhibitions often pair image and text, as if they’re meant to be read as much as experienced. Today, she is a touchstone for younger artists, and famous enough to serve as the inspiration for fiction writers, like Paul Auster.
Calle’s path to art stardom has also been very unconventional, proceeding by chance and happenstance rather than careerist calculation. Rather than owing allegiance to other artists, or famous teachers, she’s more apt to discuss the pivotal influence of her cat or her late father Robert Calle, who was an esteemed art collector and ran the contemporary art museum Carré d’Art in Nîmes, France. Here, she shares some reflections from her earliest days, when artmaking just seemed like one intriguing way to spend a life.