Designer Spotlight: Frank O. Gehry
Frank O. Gehry and Sophie Calle, friends of nearly 25 years, collaborated in 2006 to design Le Téléphone, a large sculpture which was installed as a work of public art in Paris until 2012. The flower-shaped structure was a functioning telephone booth, created with the sole intention of receiving calls from Sophie Calle. From her home just outside of Paris, Calle would call Le Téléphone at random times to converse with whomever happened to be walking by. The calls ranged from 8 seconds to 4 hours.
Shortly after Le Téléphone appeared on the Pont du Garigliano in Paris, Gehry created his Memory of Sophie Calle’s Flower (2012), an elegant, cast urethane sculpture referencing the duo’s original collaborative effort. True to its title, Gehry’s sculptural homage to the collaboration appears as but a memory of the piece installed in Paris. Its ethereal translucence and smaller scale stand in sharp contrast to the imposing presence and rich color palette of the original work.
Two years later, Calle created In Memory of Frank Gehry’s Flowers (2014), effectively creating a conceptual “Droste effect,” wherein an image is repeated endlessly within the composition. Calle’s work, also published by Gemini G.E.L., features a composition that traces back to the original work and pushes appropriation and collaboration to new limits.
Artists have been working together for as long as art has been created, but it has played a particularly significant role in the production of art since the early 1900s, when Cubist and Dadaist artists used it as a key artistic strategy for questioning and redefining the nature of art itself. Memory of Sophie Calle’s Flower is a compelling example of on-going artistic dialogue and memory itself, in the 21st century.
“Le Telephone, Sophie Calle Et Frank Gehry.” YouTube, 2009.
“Téléphone Pont Du Garigliano.” Que Faire à Paris, Monnuage, 2012.
“6 Of Frank Gehry’s Greatest Non-Architectural Works.” Mirvish and Gehry, Toronto, 5 Aug. 2015.
Frank O. Gehry
Memory of Sophie Calle’s Flower, 2012
Cast urethane with wood pedestal
#26 of 28
Published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles
Signed in felt-tip marker with printed title, date, and edition to plaque on underside
22.5″ (68″ with base) x 22″ x 19″; (57 x 56 x 48 cm)
February 25, 2018 Modern Art & Design Auction