Samuel Freeman presents selected works by French artist Guy de Cointet (1934-1983). The exhibition includes drawings, paintings, sculptural props, books and related ephemera gathered from members of the Los Angeles art community who knew the artist or collected his work during his years in this city before his untimely death.
Displayed concurrently with Taylor’s installation, Cointet’s work lends both historical and conceptual precedent with its linguistic approach to form and meaning. In the words of frequent collaborator Robert Wilhite, with Cointet’s work “the misconception was as important as the conception”. This is also a precise way to describe Taylor’s interest in communication. In her view, Guy de Cointet acknowledged the sheer futility of trying to make sense of life’s nonsense, making “stories” through linguistic gamesmanship and even further misconstrual.
From 1967-1983, Guy de Cointet lived and worked in Los Angeles, producing encrypted works on paper and theatrical performances that abstractly explored the unstable relationships between objects, situations, and their linguistic description. His theatrical works, which were colorfully minimal and highly produced, served as the framework for his artworks and sculptural props, which took on new meanings in accordance with the vast spectrum of emotions and words indicated by his performers. Audiences were asked, in essence, to suspend disbelief not once, but over and over as objects and words were coded and recoded again. Many of his distinctively ciphered and text-based artworks appeared within these performances to drive the action and dialogue, and replaced all conventional semblance of plot. Given his particular sphere of influences, his work stood apart from his more unabashedly gritty west coast contemporaries. A few of these key influences included a military family who regularly discussed cryptographic code; formative years spent in numerous locales including North Africa; and in his final years, the city of Los Angeles itself, which he held in high regard for its multilingual and heterogeneous nature.
Since the time of his death, Guy de Cointet’s theatrical works continue to be restaged at museums, galleries, and theaters in the U.S. and abroad, and a number of historical exhibitions have been mounted around his work. A selection includes Guy de Cointet, Who’s That Guy?, Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain (MAMCO), Geneva, 2004; Guy de Cointet, Overduin and Kite, Los Angeles, 2007; and Guy de Cointet, dessins et document, Le Quartier, Quimper, France, 2011 . His work was featured in Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981, MOCA, Los Angeles, 2011-12, and Los Angeles, 1955-1985, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2006. An upcoming exhibition at LACE which will explore his influence on international artists across generations, curated by French art historian and Cointet monograph author Marie de Brugerolle, and a concurrent Guy de Cointet exhibition at Mexico City’s Colección Jumex, curated by Magalí Arriola, provide further testament to his impact today. The estate of Guy de Cointet is represented by Air de Paris, with further gallery representation by Greene Naftali, New York.
Swam Sea Span
Tracings of racings in milk and cream
“…and an axe which she manned as she swam…”
The story of “a girl who attempts to swim the Channel,” Swam Sea Span incorporates unique-edition silkscreen prints, sculpture and song to plot a tale of variable sea conditions—charted in “hues of blues”—as well as a set of strange and dubious implements utilized once, long ago, by a man on a similar ocean path.
Dec. 1, 2012 – Jan 5, 2013