• MAY 16 to JUN 30
    Group Exhibition
    A Vo­id. Hen­ri Chopin, Guy de Co­in­tet, Ch­an­na Hor­witz


    • Group Exhibition
    • Contemporary

    Dates and Opening hours

    MAY 16 to JUN 30, 2013

    Event Location

    Kunsthalle Düsseldorf

    Grabbeplatz 4 D-40213 Düsseldorf

    View website


    • Ch­an­na Hor­witz
    • Guy de Co­in­tet
    • Hen­ri Chopin


    Tru­ly cryp­tic art, chao­tic and tidy, va­ria­ti­ons and trans­for­ma­ti­ons, unit and rhythm, ty­po­gra­phy and sym­bol = icon. Not fi­gu­ral, but strict and ra­di­cal; its lush and sub­stan­ti­al qua­li­ty oc­ca­si­ons us to look. Com­mu­ni­ca­ting is in point of fact in­vi­go­ra­ting should you ac­tual­ly omit any­thing from the ABC. Its im­pact is sho­cking but by do­ing so your mind quick­ly grows lu­cid.

    For­go­ing the let­ter E, as the­se few sen­ten­ces above ma­ke very evi­dent, does re­strict one’s usu­al ex­pres­si­ve pos­si­bi­li­ties, but at the sa­me ti­me it al­so gi­ves ri­se to a new lan­gua­ge that ge­ne­ra­tes other ima­ges and sounds.

    In 1969, the French aut­hor Ge­or­ge Pe­rec wro­te the ex­tra­or­di­na­ry no­vel La Dis­pa­ri­ti­on (pu­blis­hed in English un­der the tit­le A Vo­id), in which the vo­wel E does not ap­pe­ar. “The no­vel shows what lan­gua­ge can do when it is no lon­ger the aut­hor who nar­ra­tes, but ra­ther lan­gua­ge its­elf through the cor­set of strict gui­de­lines. The sto­ry, the cha­rac­ters and the plot can de­ve­lop so­le­ly from the star­ting point of the avail­able words. Vio­lent ex­ces­ses and na­ked ter­ror shim­mer through amid a re­vo­lu­tio­na­ry co­me­dy, puz­zles that fol­low upon puz­zles and a tur­bu­lent cri­me no­vel par­ody. But the­re is a me­thod be­hind the ter­ror that reigns he­re, and na­me­ly a lin­gu­is­tic me­thod to the extent that the ter­ror co­mes about as a re­sult of the lan­gua­ge’s ma­ni­pu­la­ti­on. The gra­du­al and al­most wi­thout ex­cep­ti­on cru­el va­nis­hing of an en­t­i­re clan con­se­quen­ti­al­ly ma­ni­fests its­elf in the mis­sing let­ter.” As the blurb from Eu­gen Helmlé’s Ger­man trans­la­ti­on of A Vo­id [An­ton Voyls Fort­gang] con­ti­nues, La Dis­pe­ra­ti­on “is an ad­ven­ture of un­e­qual­led ma­gni­tu­de.” In ac­cor­dance wi­th the aims of the Ou­Li­Po group (“Work­shop of Po­ten­ti­al Li­te­ra­tu­re”), Pe­rec sought to ex­pand the po­ten­ti­als of lan­gua­ge by me­ans of self-im­po­sed cons­traints – an in­ten­ti­on that is si­mi­lar­ly bin­ding for the oeu­vre of Hen­ri Chopin, Guy de Co­in­tet and Ch­an­na Hor­witz. All three ar­tists be­gan de­ve­lo­ping their works in the

    1960s, a ti­me when con­cep­tu­al sys­te­ma­tic dea­lings wi­th the ba­sic pa­ra­me­ters of our ex­pe­ri­ence we­re at the fo­re­front. The ope­ning up of lan­gua­ge and com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons, the mi­xing of such di­ver­se me­dia as image, speech, mu­sic and per­for­mance, the struc­tu­ring of ti­me and space, the de­ve­lop­ment of ar­tis­tic sys­tems of ca­te­go­ri­sa­ti­on and se­pa­ra­te gram­mars we­re in­ter­pre­ted by Chopin, de Co­in­tet and Hor­witz each in their own spe­ci­fic man­ner.

    The Ca­li­for­ni­an ar­tist Ch­an­na Hor­witz (born 1932) has wor­ked on a ma­the­ma­ti­cal­ly-ba­sed sys­tem of drawing sin­ce the ear­ly 1960s that enables her to vi­sua­li­se mo­ti­on and ti­me. Al­most all of her black and whi­te as well as co­lou­red works are ba­sed on a grid of ho­ri­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal li­nes, on ba­sic geo­me­tric shapes as well as the se­quence of num­bers from one to eight that she de­cli­nes li­ke nouns in ever new va­ria­ti­ons: it is an al­go­rithm that can con­den­se in­to struc­tu­res of ne­ar­ly un­de­co­da­ble com­ple­xi­ty. Alt­hough the se­ve­ri­ty of her gui­de­lines makes an al­most her­me­tic im­pres­si­on, her fi­ne drawings dis­play a pe­cu­li­ar vi­su­al ap­peal. This de­ri­ves in equal me­a­su­re from the spa­ti­al vor­tex vi­si­ble in ma­ny of the drawings, the li­nes of which ap­p­lied to tra­cing pa­per al­most seem as if they we­re ho­ver­ing in thin air, as well as from the vi­si­ble ten­si­on bet­ween the pro­gram­med pro­ce­du­re and the drawn li­ne, bet­ween gui­de­lines and free­dom wi­t­hin a com­plex ar­tis­tic sys­tem that Hor­witz hers­elf cha­rac­te­ri­ses as a “vi­su­al phi­lo­so­phy.” Ch­an­na Hor­witz has be­en em­ploy­ing no­ta­ti­ons sin­ce the la­te 1960s that she calls Sona­ki­na­to­gra­phy in the sen­se of a sound and mo­ti­on re­cor­ding, on oc­ca­si­on al­so the cho­reo­gra­phic sour­ce ma­te­ri­al for her per­for­man­ces as well. Her works are equal­ly roo­ted in the mi­ni­ma­list pro­cess of struc­tu­ring ti­me and space as well as the me­tho­do­lo­gy of the Hap­pe­ning to the extent that the func­tion of the no­ta­ti­on shif­ted from being a pas­si­ve re­cor­ding to be­co­ming an ac­tive set of in­struc­tions. Ch­an­na Hor­witz stu­died at the re­now­ned Ca­li­for­nia In­sti­tu­te of the Arts. Alt­hough she has be­en re­pre­sen­ted at in­ter­na­tio­nal ex­hi­bi­ti­ons sin­ce the mid 1960s, she de­ve­lo­ped her work se­clu­ded from an en­vi­ron­ment do­mi­na­ted by ma­le col­le­agues.

    From the la­te 1960s un­til his ear­ly de­ath, the French-born con­cept ar­tist Guy de Co­in­tets (1934-1983), who bo­re the nick­na­me “Duch­amp Los An­ge­les,” was al­so an in­flu­en­ti­al mem­ber of the Ca­li­for­nia art sce­ne. His per­for­man­ces as well as his books and drawings are de­vo­ted to the bo­un­da­ries of lan­gua­ge and its po­ten­ti­als. The ele­gant and har­mo­nious prints he pro­du­ced over his three deca­des of as­ce­tic work can be read to­day li­ke a pre-emp­ti­on of the ap­proaching age of di­gi­ta­li­sa­ti­on. De Co­in­tet par­ti­cu­lar­ly de­di­ca­ted him­s­elf to ever­y­day oc­cur­ren­ces and ad­ven­ture sto­ries that he so­me­ti­mes al­so trans­la­ted in­to mir­ror wri­ting or mi­li­ta­ry codes. He was not con­cer­ned he­re wi­th the le­gi­bi­li­ty of the works, which can by all me­ans be de­coded. Clo­se­ly re­la­ted to the then up-and-co­ming field of struc­tu­ra­lism, he was much mo­re in­te­rested in the trans­la­ti­on of mea­ning in­to vi­su­al signs that turn in­to an image. By de­con­struc­ting lan­gua­ge, he si­mul­ta­neous­ly ex­po­sed the prin­ci­ples they obey. Co­in­tet loved play­ing wi­th iden­ti­ties and wor­ked un­der va­rious he­te­ro­nyms. In do­ing so he ap­p­lied his fa­sci­na­ti­on for codes and puz­zles to his own ar­tis­tic per­so­na.

    In­crea­sing at­ten­ti­on has li­ke­wi­se be­en paid in re­cent ye­ars to the work of Hen­ri Chopin (1922-2008), a key fi­gu­re of vi­su­al and sound poe­try. Par­ti­cu­lar­ly in his ty­pewri­ter po­ems he ex­plo­res the re­la­ti­ons­hip bet­ween cha­os and or­der. Chopin dis­sects words in­to their in­di­vi­du­al let­ters, ta­kes up their or­na­men­ta­ti­on and di­stils them in­to gra­phic ima­ges. By do­ing so, he con­fronts the mea­ning of lan­gua­ge wi­th the pos­si­bi­li­ty of in­fi­ni­te­ly trans­for­ming its signs. Pa­per and ty­pewri­ter en­ter in­to an unusu­al re­la­ti­ons­hip he­re, which leads to over­lap­pings, cros­sings, re­ver­sals and ex­pan­si­ons of wri­ting’s ele­ments. Pre­cise, subt­le and hu­mo­rous writ­ten ima­ges wi­th a spa­ti­al depth struc­tu­re are crea­ted through ac­cen­tua­ti­ons in co­lour and the me­thod of over­typ­ing. Hen­ri Chopin not on­ly had a de­cisi­ve in­flu­ence on con­tem­pora­ry poe­try as an ar­tist and sound poet but al­so as a jour­na­list. Along­side his own works he al­so pu­blis­hed pie­ces by other ar­tists such as Raoul Haus­mann, Wil­liam Bur­roughs and François Dufrêne in his ex­pe­ri­men­tal jour­nals

    Cin­quie­me Sai­son (1959-1963) and Re­vue OU (1964 –1974).
    For all three ar­tists, this is the first in­sti­tu­tio­nal ex­hi­bi­ti­on of their drawings in Ger­ma­ny. Wi­th a selec­tion of about 20 works each da­ting from the 1960s to the 1980s, the Kunst­hal­le is fo­cus­sing on works on pa­per that pro­vi­de a re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ve over­view of each ar­tist’s oeu­vre.

    The ex­hi­bi­ti­on is ac­com­pa­nied by a pu­bli­ca­ti­on fea­turing an in­tro­duc­tion by Lo­di Vers and Magd­al­na Holz­hy, an es­say by Gre­gor Stemm­rich as well as in­tro­duc­to­ry texts on the three ar­tists by Ma­rie de Bru­ge­rol­le, Lu­ca Ce­riz­za and Chris Kraus.

    The per­for­man­ces “Va­ria­ti­ons on Sina­ki­na­to­gra­phy” by Ch­an­na Hor­witz and “Fi­ve Sis­ters” by Guy de Co­in­tet, wi­th sets and ligh­ting de­sign by Eric Orr, will be sta­ged in con­junc­tion wi­th the ex­hi­bi­ti­on ope­ning on 15 May 2013.

    Performances by Guy de Cointet
    and Channa Horwitz

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