ANNE-LISE COSTE. qui suis-je. 26.01.2007 – 16.03.2007

Press Release
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english / deutsch

Galerie Reinhard Hauff is pleased to announce the opening of the third solo show with Anne-Lise Coste (*1973). In her art, as well as in life, the French-born Zürich artist takes a radical approach in which she articulates—in spontaneous drawn or painted gestures—the randomly said, written—thought. Contrary to the mainstream standardisation of art, she focuses on the fleeting nature of the instant—on the risks and opportunities inherent in every new beginning—and expresses herself with uncompromising honesty. The blend of picture and text, of drawing and commentary, of personal observations and political engagement have been characteristic of her work for years. In that process, portraiture takes increasing prominence—either as charcoal drawings on paper (a catalogue of the series “18 Heads” was recently published by the Kunsthalle Lingen, Germany)—or as compositions in acrylic paint on canvas.

In this exhibition,
Anne-Lise Coste shows for the first time a group of small canvasses which she refers to as self portraits. The paintings are displayed with a group of over 100 A4 drawings from the past couple of years. In these paintings mask-like faces formed by colourful, thickly applied paint layers stand out on a white background. The rudimentary facial features—nose, eyes and mouth—in these portraits are reminiscent, not so much of deformity, as of a playful “research of the Self” as Anne-Lise Coste explains. The existentialist question “qui suis-je” (who am I) in both the exhibition title and this very first series of paintings, reflect the artistʼs probing search for identity. In this playful disguise she encounters the viewer. Just as Anne-Lise Coste in her prolific body of drawings always drew on her own experience, her own feelings and the conditions of her own Self—without limiting significance myopically to that of her own—the “Who am I” of these paintings can also be understood as the “erosion of that which we life-long thought ourselves to be”. (Andreas van Dühren, in the catalogue “Anne-Lise Coste:18 Heads”, Kunsthalle Lingen, 2006).