ANNE-LISE COSTE. L‘art de la joie, 1967-1976, Goliarda Sapienza. 05.02.2016 – 24.03.2016 

Press Release
Exhibition Views

english / deutsch

Anne-Lise Coste was born in Marseilles in 1973 and now lives and works in Southern France. She has exhibited at, among other institutions, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art—Santander, Spain, Museo Serralves—Porto, Portugal, Boijmans van Beunungen Museum—Rotterdam, Netherlands, Susanne Hilberry Gallery- Detroit, USA, Anton Kern Gallery and the Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery—New York, USA, Galerie Gregor Staiger at Karma International and at the Kunsthaus Zürich – Zurich, Switzerland. She has also exhibited numerous times at Ellen de Bruijne – Amsterdam, Netherlands, Lullin+Ferrari, Zurich and at Noguerras Blanchard—Barcelona and Madrid, Spain.

„L’art de la Joie, 1967-1976, Goliarda Sapienza“ is Anne-Lise Coste’s sixth solo show at the Galerie Reinhard Hauff, Stuttgart.

“L´art de la Joie” (The Art of Joy), is also the title of a flower still life in the show, and is taken from the literary masterpiece by the Italian author and actress Goliarda Sapienza. The book, written in the years 1967-1976, was published only after the death of the author in 1988 and only after several initial rejections of the manuscript and considerable controversy in the Italian publishing world. Last year, a brand new French translation inspired some of the new works presented in this Stuttgart show.

Like the author Goliarda, the heroine of the book has an unusual name: Modesta. Modesta comes from a “modest” background, marries into the most elite strata of Italian nobility and immodestly speaks on the most tabooed experiences, prevalent in 20th century Sicilian society but of course about which rarely acknowledged and never spoken. Modesta‘s immodest experiences, thoughts and actions elude the censorship of her social class and quietly confront the reader with grotesque and putrid aspects of the human character and how ambivalent we often are when forced to view such actions particularly when pointed out by the modest voice of those not permitted to speak, because of poverty or gender or age or religious fidelity. With corresponding authenticity and veracity
Coste communicates her thoughts on canvas about an array of issues confronting many of us living in this space and time.

The personality of the artist is present in each work she creates: “It’s always me”
Coste says when describing people, places and situations depicted in her compositions. Since the very beginning of Coste’s career, the battle for permanent visibility as a female artist attempting to exist on a male dominated landscape has been a theme expressed in her work both subtly and forcefully.
Presented in this show are recent and exuberantly colourful works on paper along with some calligraphic paintings from the artist’s later years in New York. The works entitled,
“Writings and Other Forms of Life“ in which ideas and feelings looking for explanation or the expression of frustration with the state of things come to life via text fragments and poetic calligraphic patterns. Political, personal and intimate matters such as loneliness and self-criticism are often expressed within the same composition; as are joy, enthusiasm, passion, hope and humour—the whole spectrum of visceral and authentic emotion. Coste does not adhere to rules or constraints governing style or technique.

A series of colourful still lifes resembles advertisements for the Travel and Food Industries. The compositions are inscribed
: Russia, Cuba, North Korea and Kenya and depict various groupings of fruit, flowers, milk and bread. As “exotic” distant and seemingly disparate as these places appear, the objects are playfully arranged, as if to remind us that fundamentally, basic human needs are similar. A large group of airbrush paintings on paper from 2015-2016 further develop the still life series of bottles inspired by Giorgio Morandi and other artists. Coste refers to the vases and bottles she repeatedly paints as “Unbreakable Glass and Ceramics.” Glass and ceramics unbreakable? In Coste’s view it is precisely by virtue of their fragility that they are unbreakable like the human spirit, that remains open and trusting although constantly assaulted by pain, disappointment, inequality and temporary miseries—like Modesta, like us for a longing for permanence, security and simplicity is within our grasp. The colour Blue is most frequently used in the group of works called “Flowers and Flowers” - Blue for the blue in Bleu-Blanc-Rouge of Anne-Lise’s home country and for the colour of glass, water, and the sky.

The open ended statemen
t ~ Be sure of one thing: … ~ speaks not only to the uncertainty of life in general but also to the broad span of the artist’s creative work and her unabashed fundamental belief that everything is possible especially, ESPECIALLY when it appears impossible.