The French writer and artist Sophie Calle is known for work categorized by both bizarre constraints and explicit voyeurism. In 1979’s Suite Venitienne she followed a man she met at a party in Paris all the way to Venice, disguising herself and photographing him along the way. In 1981 she published The Hotel, a collection of random people’s photos and belongings that she gathered while worked for three weeks as a hotel maid.
Her latest work to be published, The Address Book, is about discovering a stranger through his contracts, which Calle found in the 80’s and copied before returning them to him. The work was fraught with controversy. First, Calle had to wait to wait about 20 years to publish it until after the subject’s death. And then there was the problem of who would publish it.
“I said I will get you a literary audience,” says Lisa Pearson, founder of Siglio Press, the book’s eventual publisher. “The work is meant to be read. The art world does not read it. They are entertained by the idea, but they don’t sit down and read it.” She followed through, seeing the work get published in the New Yorker and Harper’s and make waves in literary circles around the country, and solidified her mission to bring together unique books that straddle the line between art and literature.
Lisa Pearson is whip smart and knows when a conceptual artist has done something worth taking out of the museum and putting into a book. Her latest project ventures into the work of Dorothy Iannone, a self-taught artist based in Berlin whose work is deeply sexual, feminist, and driven towards an “ecstatic unity”. The beauty in her almost art-brut style paintings is in the details and the intimacy, a perfect reason to transfer them into a beautiful book that Pearson will be releasing this year.