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Guy de Cointet: Tempo Rubato at Fundación / Colección Jumex

The exhibition Tempo Rubato at Fundación / Colección Jumex in Mexico City is dedicated to the French-born artist Guy de Cointet. Curated by Magalí Arriola, Guy de Cointet – Tempo Rubato features set design, performance art, prints and drawings, as well as documents relating to the artist’s life and work. Guy de Cointet was born in Paris in 1934. He moved to New York in 1965, and then to Los Angeles in 1968. He lived in Los Angeles from 1968 until his death in 1983. His work is said to have influenced that of Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley, and others. The exhibition Guy de Cointet – Tempo Rubato at Fundación / Colección Jumex in Mexico City runs until February 24, 2013.

Guy de Cointet: Tempo Rubato. Retrospective at Fundación / Colección Jumex in Mexico City. Opening reception, November 30, 2012.

PS: From January 16, LACE Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions will present the exhibition LA Existancial. The show is organized by curator Marie de Brugerolle and brings together international artists such as John Baldessari and Andrea Fraser to explore the legacy of Guy de Cointet.

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From the press release:

After discussing the Italians’ skill of performing with their hands while they’re talking as if improvising on a melody, Rosa and Butch—the main characters in Guy de Cointet and Robert Wilhite’s IGLU—converse about what they understand by tempo rubato. In their exchange, the musical term that refers to the expressive and rhythmic freedom of the performer who shapes music by introducing variations to the tempo of the original score, is now a matter of performative speech. This very sense of practiced spontaneity in the production of meaning is what gives substance to Guy de Cointet’s synesthetic practice, whose associations of shapes, words, and body language, manage to undermine the social values and cultural codes that administer our day-to-day lives.

The exhibition Guy de Cointet – Tempo Rubato features prints and drawings, performance art and set design, as well as various documents relating to the life and work of Guy de Cointet, a French artist born in 1934 who lived in Los Angeles from 1968 until his death in 1983. The show includes a wide range of works: from his first encrypted drawings and books, to his later monologues and theatrical productions inspired by the current events of his time, mass media, and popular culture. Growing up in a military family, de Cointet had a marked fascination for the encrypted languages used during World War II, and the everyday dynamics generated around them, that he further associated with the manipulative character of the media. After traveling to New York City where he frequented Andy Warhol’s Factory, he moved to Los Angeles where he worked as an assistant to sculptor Larry Bell. This was where de Cointet began to use the dialogue in Mexican radio soap operas, the world of fashion, and the communication codes that mediate people’s interactions, as some of the main sources for his work.

Finding inspiration in such diverse territories as domestic conversations, literary passages and pre-Columbian codices, de Cointet conceived, over the years, a series of situations in the form of graphics and performable texts that, like lost or misplaced moments, manage to escape the routine of daily life. In these situations, words generate images that become stories without a plot. These narratives-in-the-making are deployed in space as characters activate objects and as the identity of these objects shifts, making them acquire a life of their own that manages to unsettle and transcend the ordinary.

This exhibition, unprecedented in Mexico, represents not only an occasion for the work to travel to a territory that was familiar to the artist, but it provides viewers with the opportunity to delve into a seldom-explored terrain, one where painting, sculpture, storytelling and performance intermingle, and one that has acquired renewed relevance in the art making of recent years.

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