Words, quotations and statements play a crucial role in the work of Anne-Lise Coste (Marseille, 1973). In her practice, Coste combines poetry with protest and comments on political as well as personal issues with a rebellious honesty. Reminiscent of street graffiti, Coste uses different materials such as airbrush, pastel and acrylic to give her gestures permanence. For her show at Lullin + Ferrari, the artist addresses life as if it were a close friend whom she is writing a correspondence. Spread out over surfaces of paper, cardboard and wooden doors are letters tending to become words, elegies deconstructed into painstakingly short statements, and smudges of paint that take on variously ambiguous forms. Some works allude to events in Coste’s personal life, lamenting feelings of loneliness and disappointment. Others refer to adversities elsewhere on the planet, of which we are superficially kept in the known through the massive amount of social media; such as Nestlé’s CEO claiming that water is not a human right, the Edward Snowden debacle, and the Millions Against Monsanto campaign. Shown in one space the personal and the political content of these works subtly fuse together, detached from any restrictions of grammar or regularity. Through this amalgamation Coste confronts her audience with the shifting boundaries between the personal and the political as well as the private versus the public sphere. The personal is nowadays often turned into a field of political engagement and world politics are increasingly transformed into the object of very emotional involvement. Coste’s work strengthens our awareness of the political context we live in and the complex emotional investment it demands from us. All this however is done in a playful manner that accompanies our thoughts with vivid colors, calligraphic forms, and the sounds of Nina Simone and BB King rising in the back of our mind.
- Dear Life, Anne-Lise Coste