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When I first heard about French artist Anne-Lise Coste's new exhibition, my thoughts immediately went to the Dutch singer Spinvis. Three years ago he released the album Trein, Vuur, Dagenraad (Train, Fire, Daybreak). As an explanation of the cryptic title, he explained: "Two words are only two words, with three words a story is created. The reader connects them in thoughts and turns them into a story". Coste does exactly that with Poème - Pute - Police. Only where Spinvis' texts are fragmentary and casual, Coste's use of language is at the same time Dada-like and direct. With Coste there is no story in your head, it rather short circuits.
In addition to work on paper, Coste likes to use the spray can. The immediacy of graffiti forces her to work very concisely. She combines her moods with political criticism and literary concepts, making her work full of irony, rebellion and emotion.
This is not only reflected in the title of the exhibition, but also in Pute, for example.
Coste’s painting refers to Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) and is about the position of women in society and the jargon that masks that position. Picasso's Cubist masterpiece features a brothel scene. The ladies on the canvas are prostitutes and not a group of mademoiselles, as the title euphemistically suggests. Coste cuts through this by simply adding the word pute (whore), making Pute not only a humorous work with a serious undertone, but above all very effective.
(Gallery: Ellen de Bruijne Projects)