Freely applying linguist Roman Jakobson’s model of the ‘functions of language,’ the exhibit “Bookshop” can be regarded as a continuation of Delphine Coindet’s extensive experiments with the poetic functions of language. Be it in the sculptures representing letters, in the cardboard scrolls, the paper calendars and fragments of discourse written or stated, it is the materiality of language’s signs and codes that is on display without offering any obviously decipherable meaning.
Mention has often been made of the iconic nature of Delphine Coindet’s works, and particularly of the way in which, even when materialized, the pieces still appear to be virtual images.
And though the work is as ever indebted to the computer age – its tools and its aesthetic – it nevertheless distances itself perceptibly from the virtual in its rediscovery of the material – unpredictable, imperfect, familiar.
Some of the pieces presented in the exhibit “Bookshop” draw on former works. Tunnel (1994), with its architectural dimensions, is as though duplicated here, reduced in scale, textured, and decorated for show. In this twisted version, it gives form to three large coloured books in a style more akin to Philip Guston’s figurative painting than to the sculpture of Tony Smith.