Guy de Cointet : Selected Works | Stephanie Taylor: Swam Sea Span


Guy de Cointet : Selected Works | Stephanie Taylor: Swam Sea Span

December 1st - January 5th, 2013

Selected Works

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.

Stephanie Taylor  is motivated by the limitless interpretations and misconceptions surrounding contemporary art. Her work is grounded in the absurdity of sense-making, drawing from the twisting of language through rhyme, phonetic association, pun, or arcane systemic code, employed as the basis for invented narratives realized in sculpture, print, photography, video, and music.  The sound of language is the cornerstone of Taylor’s exhibitions: her installations are composed from selected words or phrases referencing the exhibition site – often the institution or gallery name.  These words are broken into phonetic syllables, from which she begins her textual games.   “Sam/free/man” becomes “swam/sea/span”.  Stringing together the linguistic bits, she creates an often-humorous story that unfolds through the interplay between “art objects” and the very words that served as their catalysts. The resulting installations take their formal and procedural shape from these nonsensical, meandering, and supremely abstract tales.

Born in 1971, Stephanie Taylor grew up in New York, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles.  She received an MFA from the Art Center College of Design.  Solo exhibitions include Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne and Berlin; Marc Jancou Contemporary, New York; Daniel Hug, Los Angeles; and LACE, Los Angeles. In 2011, Taylor, with the help of The Society for Activation of Social Space Through Art and Sound (SASSAS), produced The Stephanie Taylor Songbook, at the MAK’s Schindler House, West Hollywood. Her work has been the subject of numerous features and reviews by publications including Frieze, Artforum, Modern Painters, and X-tra Contemporary Art Quarterly, and appears in the Saatchi Gallery’s 2011 anthology The Shape of Things To Come: New Sculpture. In 2011, Taylor had work commissioned offsite by LACMA and the Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, and was invited to participate in Garage Exchange Vienna, at the MAK’s Garage Top exhibition space in Los Angeles. Recent publications include Chop Shop, Les Figues Press, Los Angeles, 2007, and The Stephanie Taylor Songbook, Ood Press, Rio de Janeiro, 2010. She is represented in New York by Marc Jancou Contemporary, and in Germany by Galerie Christian Nagel.