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On the work of Guy De Cointet by François Piron

July 4, 2018 8:00 pm

Relegated to the background for more than two decades, Guy de Cointet’s works are gradually regaining traction among the artistic practices of the 1970s. Based between Los Angeles, New York, and Paris, the French artist developed a singular practice that led him to shift from painting to drawing and from books to the theatre.

Performance art was at its height in the beginning of the 1970s in Los Angeles — where Happenings had taken place since the 1960s — when de Cointet started to show his work. Since his early experimental stage works, the artist’s imaginary developed in a singular theatrical world that encompassed several innovative elements such as:  texts memorized by professional actors, a willingness to stage works several times, and an interest in directing by using movement, rhythm, and emotional intensity.

From 1973 until 1983, the year in which he passed away, he wrote approximately 25 plays in which he integrated dialogues, prose, poems, foreign and cryptic languages, sonorous sentences, music, advertising and tele-visual slogans but also texts by a number of writers. He viewed theater as an “assemblage of objects, gestures, and works whose perpetual interferences create a magic that was specific to theater.”

François Piron (b.1972) is an art critic, curator, professor and a publisher. He is the founder of several institutions in Paris, including the Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers (2000-2006) as well as the independent art space Castillo/Corrales (2007-2015). He runs the publishing house Paraguay Press and is the director of the post-graduate program at the Academy of Fine Arts in Lyon, where he has been teaching the Art history and theory since 2002.

He has curated several exhibitions, among them:  Bruit de fond, the Centre National de la Photographie, 2000 ; Subréel, Musée d’art contemporain de Marseille, 2002 ; Intouchable, l’idéal transparence, Villa Arson, Nice, 2006 ; Locus Solus, Impressions de Raymond Roussel, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid and Serralves Foundation, Porto, 2011-2012 ; Nouvelles Impressions de Raymond Roussel, Palais de Tokyo, 2013 ; The President of the Republic of Dreams, Galérie Daniel Buchholz, Berlin, 2013 and New York, 2015 ; In These Great Times, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, 2014 ; Mangelos, Peter Freeman Inc., New York, 2016; Odradek, Malmö Konsthall, 2018

Piron recently edited and published a book on Guy de Cointet’s theatre entitled The Complete Plays, in 2017. Recent publications also include : Locus Solus, Impressions de Raymond Roussel, Presses du Réel, 2012 ; Incorporated !, Paraguay Press, 2016 ; Contre cultures 1969-89: L’Esprit français, La Découverte, 2017.