Guy de Cointet

, from the late ’60s until his untimely death in 1983, was an active member of the Los Angeles art scene whose encrypted works on paper and theatrical productions using readymade language—taken from both the high literature of his native France and the soap operas of his adopted land—were often as enigmatic as the man himself. Guy de Cointet was born in France, but settled in California in 1968. In the early seventies, he began presenting installations and performances in a number of galleries, including the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, Otis institute, the Whitney Museum, Franklin Furnace, and other venues.  De Cointet’s works are texts broken down into their visual components. He was keenly aware of the imprecision of language, and intrigued by the ability of people to quickly gain meaning from ambiguous uses of language, open to many interpretations. Through his books, and printmaking projects, the artist attempted to transform the language experience into a visual experience. He also turned to performance as a way of presenting different relationships between the textual images. In 1974, de Cointet created a play, TSNX C24VA7ME, a play of Dr. Hun, which included props of license plates, phone numbers, movie ratings, and words. De Cointet’s groundbreaking work in using language in visual art is considered greatly influential to artists of the era and afterwards, including Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley, Allen Ruppersberg, and Larry Bell.