Guy de Cointet, Tell Me, 1979
Performance at MoMA, New York, February 1980
Performed by Helen Mendez, Jane Zingale, Denise Domergue
Courtesy Guy de Cointet Society and Air de Paris, Paris. Photo: Kira Perov
Guy de Cointet:
The Complete Plays
Friday, September 22 – Sunday, September 24
Noon – 6 p.m.
Friday, September 22, 4 p.m.
55 Walker Street
Guy de Cointet: The Complete Plays (Paraguay Press, 2017) gathers for the first time all the theatrical works by Guy de Cointet, written between 1973 and 1983. With twenty-five plays in the original French and English and in translation, the book also features commentaries, interviews, and documents relating to their intended design and staging, including notebooks, drawings, photographs, posters, and invitation cards from the archives of Guy de Cointet Estate at the Centre Pompidou's Kandinsky Library in Paris.
To mark the volume’s launch, Artists Space presents a weekend-long screening of film and video recordings of productions of de Cointet’s plays from the 1970s and 1980s, accompanied by a display of correspondence, posters, and invitation cards. A reception with Paris-based publishers Paraguay Press will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, September 22; the book will be for sale throughout the three-day program.
Guy de Cointet (1934–1983) was fascinated with language, which he explored primarily through performance and drawing. His practice involved collecting random phrases, words, and even single letters from popular culture and literary sources—he often cited Raymond Roussel's novel Impressions of Africa as influential—and working these elements into nonlinear narratives, which were presented as plays to his audience.
Paintings and works on paper would then figure prominently within these performances. In his play At Sunrise . . . A Cry Was Heard (1974), a large painting depicting letters bisected by a white sash served as a main subject and prop, with the lead actress continuously referring to it and reading its jumble of letters as if it were an ordinary script. His drawings likewise are almost readable but just beyond comprehension. De Cointet is recognized as one of the major figures in the conceptual art movement that emerged in Los Angeles in the 1970s, having strongly influenced a number of prominent artists working in southern California, including Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley.
With thanks to
Hugues Decointet and
Air de Paris
Guy de Cointet: The Complete Plays
Hugues Decointet, François Piron, Marilou Thiébault, eds.
Published by Paraguay Press with the support of the Guy de Cointet Society and a publishing grant from CNAP-Centre National des Arts Plastiques
Designed by Laure Giletti & Gregory Dapra
2017, French and English
6.7 x 8.7 in / 17 x 22 cm, 448 pages, color ill.
Vertical format, hardcover