Sophie Calle - Photographs New York Tuesday, April 4, 2023 | Phillips
  • For more than forty years, Sophie Calle has used photography to explore complex notions of memory, loss and intimacy. As a conceptual artist, experimental filmmaker and an accomplished writer, Calle produces works that bring together text and image to remarkable effect, consistently creating biographical narratives that create vivid interpretations—as opposed to didactic depictions—of individuals. In The Shadow, 1981, the narrative is autobiographical, as she recounts the day she was followed by a private investigator. The current lot, comprised of 22 separate parts, sees this text coupled with photographs and notes taken by the private investigator, unaware that his target had orchestrated the set-up in the first place. Calle states, “At my request, my mother went to a detective agency called ‘Duluc’. She hired them to follow me, to report my daily activities and to provide photographic evidence of my existence.”


    The Shadow conceptually continues to explore the theme of documenting that is ever present in Calle’s work. By juxtaposing her omniscient words with the investigator’s findings, Calle successfully blurs the line between fact and fiction, whilst becoming both the subject and the object of the installation.

    • Provenance

      Fred Hoffman Gallery, Santa Monica, 1994

    • Exhibited

      This work was exhibited at the following institutions: ICP, New York, 1986; The New Who's Who, Hoffman Borman Gallery, Santa Monica, 1987; Sophie Calle: A Survey, Fred Hoffman Gallery, Santa Monica, 1987; Sophie Calle, ICA, Boston, 1990; Sophie Calle, University of California, Berkeley, 1990; Sophie Calle, Luhring-Augustine, New York, 1990

    • Literature

      Sprengel Museum, Sophie Calle, cover, pp. 2-14
      Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris, Sophie Calle à suivre, n.p.

    • Catalogue Essay

      Another installation of The Shadow (La Filature) is in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.


The Shadow (La Filature)

Installation in 22 parts comprised of 7 photomontages, 2 black and white photographs, one Ektachrome print, 11 texts on bond paper, and one enlarged text. Additionally accompanied by a title card.
Small text 11 1/8 x 8 3/4 in. (28.3 x 22.2 cm)
Large text 28 x 97 in. (71.1 x 246.4 cm)
Varying size of photographs 25 3/4 x 6 3/4 in. (65.4 x 17.1 cm), 6 3/4 x 9 3/4 in. (17.1 x 24.8 cm), 16 3/8 x 19 1/2 in. (41.6 x 49.5 cm)
Overall 75 x 115 in. (190.5 x 292.1 cm)

One from an edition of 3 plus 3 artist's proofs.

Full Cataloguing

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $53,340

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 4 April 2023