twisted, held your wrists. I was the button cams who wanted to be your eyes. You saw like the sun did. Just less mercifully.
tangles in your tricks. no knot deigns to be ballet. you have rescues down your shirt, things you never need except to kill, except to eat. Fire starves too easily. Diamonds are rude enough to endure. Seismic tremors distastefully observe you. they see as nothing as I see. If you loved me, you’d love me blind. Close my eyes till their resolutions shift, sizzle, fabric chips crackling like camping grounds. Twisted in the trees, nooses set up, artistry in endless motion of captive silence, capsized islands that are my dials. Twist me, please.
Your focus is terrifying. Crack me. Quake me. Whatever. Break me. I need your skillset, baby, save me. Your smile’s china is shattering, unquietly. You are not stronger than my solar system, nor my immune autonomy. Cutlasses can my feelers bypass, but your lockpicks run much deeper, darling. Let me dare to observe you, more bonfire than sunlight. I will not cast your shadow; I promise, lovely. Bind my wrist to seal your dancer’s deals, even. See me like the sky sees. I shine back, somewhere between the twists you love, the clicks adored by every kind of joy, from hearts to holograms, smokescreens to mysteries.
In 1991, Calle created LastSeen…, a series of works based on the 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist, in which thirteen works of art were stolen. Calle interviewed curators, guards, and other staff members, collecting their thoughts and memories of the missing works. The result was a meditation on absence and memory, a reflection on the emotional power that works of art have upon their viewers.
In 2012, Calle decided to revisit the project. She had learned that in 1995 the Museum had restored four of the empty frames left behind during the theft and reinstalled them on the walls of the Dutch Room. Excited and intrigued by this visually organized framing of absence on the part of a museum, Calle made a new body of work and called it What Do You See?. The outcome is a portrait of absence that might, or might not, take shape through collective memories.
Last Seen brings together both series of works—for the first time—at the Gardner Museum. On view from October 24, 2013–March 3, 2014. Very excited to see this show. CF