Synopses & Reviews
Mentor to a generation of Californian Conceptualists and performance artists, Guy de Cointet (1934-1983) took language as a material from which to generate drawings, plays and performances. De Cointet collected phrases, words and even single letters culled from popular culture and literary sources, and scripted them as dialogues or props for plays inspired by the writings and homonymic compositional methods of Raymond Roussel: in the 1976 play At Sunrise... A Cry Was Heard, for example, a large painting depicting letters bisected by a white sash provides the dialogue of the lead actress, who recites its jumble of letters as if it were ordinary conversation. His drawings were often generated by geometric erasures of found text, leaving behind Concrete-style abstract patterns. A formative figure for Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy during his tenure at the Otis Art institute, de Cointet is today in the process of being rediscovered; this timely monograph is the first overview of his enigmatic and influential oeuvre.