Image 1: Anne-Lise Coste, The chance to feel, 2014, airbrush on archival paper, 65 x 50 cm.
Image 2: Anne-Lise Coste, Unattached, unconventional wanderer, 2014, airbrush on linen, 215 x 155 cm.
Ellen de Bruijne PROJECTS proudly presents the 6th solo-show by Anne-Lise Coste in our 10-year collaboration. On view are paintings and work on paper from the past 3 years, that coincide with moving from Coste’s New York base to her roots in the south of France.
“The chance to feel” is the sentence that Anne-Lise Coste penciled in graphite on a piece of paper in 1999 when she was studying at the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst in Zürich. Cleaning out her storage lately, the artist got rid of most of her work from that early period, but kept this sentence – the essence that remains when one throws everything else away: the chance to feel.
If her recent work from New York can be seen as a harsh critique on society and on the self, then her latest work is a meditation on these same parameters.
Words like “Fuck” and statements such as “Merde à police” and idiosyncratic references like “Sex” are slowly disappearing from the surface. Delicate, ethereal and at times even botanical gestures have taken over the canvas. Also the deep dark black of her New York period is now replaced by colourful still lives, coincidental patterns and art historical references.
It is illustrative of her state of mind since moving back to the French countryside in the Spring of 2014. Upon closer look one finds flowers and bottles floating around, and words such as “Origin” and “Heritage”, and names of women who wanted to escape their lives; “Dolly, Lilly, Bovary”. These late pieces might in fact be seen as happy vanitas paintings, not warning us for our material imperfections, but as reminders to enjoy our temporal state of being.
Detaching herself from the restrictions of grammar and regularity, Coste’s work does not follow any rules of representation and yet there is a certain consistency in her way of working, and looking at the world around her: in her purest form, it is a message straight from the heart, whether she is challenged by a threatening metropolis like New York, or she is indulged by the beauty and calmness of the French countryside.
Coste has found a balance within herself and has stopped asking the questions “Why am I here?” and “What am I doing?” After having been a foreigner for most of her adulthood, coming to age and returning to her roots has reaffirmed her “raison d’être”.
— text by Ksenia Soboleva