Los Angeles

Guy De Cointet

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Guy De Cointet weaves abstraction and language together in deliberately theatrical performances that can only be described as elegant. American abstract art in the early 20th century was, in the critical view championed by Willard Huntington Wright, adamant in its rejection of the “extraneous” element of literature in art. De Cointet’s Tell Me is, in his words, “a performance about language and abstraction, and how they are perceived by the mind and the senses.” Monologue, dialogue, sign language, song, and, if you’ll excuse the expression, body language are played off abstract forms, objects, and games in a production that veers from sense to nonsense and back again.

In 1971 de Cointet started to make books whose texts were generated from found and invented codes and symbols, from newspapers and cheap novels. These books formed the basis of his first performance in 1973, and they continue

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