The Bridegroom Suites II

Art Center

Fri 25 may 2019 at 2:30 pm - Abreuvoir

Tery Arnold et Jane Zingale, Béatrice Balcou, Hedwig Houben, Christophe Lemaitre

Originated by Hugues Decointet and Émilie Renard


Live and filmed performances 

The Bridegroom Suites II has two actresses and three artists offering four variations on Guy de Cointet's last, unfinished work. In brief filmed sequences – a letter addressed to one of the characters, a silent ceremony, a shift in a family context – they focus on de Cointet, simultaneously sustaining an absent artist's heritage and personal modes of expression.

In a programme comprising a range of formats – brief mises en scène, a domestic situation, a silent ceremony, generative poetry – The Bridegroom Suites II brings together two actresses and three artists in four variations on Guy de Cointet's last, unfinished work. At stake here is a dual heritage: play on the mechanics of a personal dramatic language and the open-endedness made possible by the incompletion and instability of the source material.


Here de Cointet is the point of focus for artists who connect with him via this text: via the signs he has left behind and the avenues he has opened up. They have opted for caring for a heritage and extending it, and for forming an indirect relationship with de Cointet without having to decide who is the active partner in this transmission process. But how to take care of an unfinished, unstable, fragile work? Each of these artists has taken care to establish with Guy de Cointet a relationship that further develops an aspect of his work and allows his personal language to live on in his absence.


Coproduction Guy de Cointet Society / Ferme du Buisson

Courtesy Air de Paris

Tery Arnold and Jane Zingale

The Bridegroom with and by Tery Arnold and Jane Zingale, 1985

Video, 8 min

Camera: Jamie Smith Jackson


Hedwig Houben

Tante Lies, 2019

Video, 20 min

With Hedwig Houben, Flip Schevers, Arie Schevers, Bas Schevers

Editing: Bas Schevers


Christophe Lemaitre (in collaboration with OfficeABC)

Sans titre (La lettre), 2019

Text, voice recognition, character pattern, projection, 10 min

Performer: Anne Frèches


Béatrice Balcou

Les indiens sont là. What can I do for you?, 2019

Performance, 25 min

With Hugues Decointet and others

Guy de Cointet and The Bridegroom

In 1973, Guy de Cointet (Paris, 1934 – Los Angeles, 1983) embarked on a series of some 25 theatre pieces indissociable from his visual artworks. The last of them, The Bridegroom, was still unfinished when he died in August 1983, and exists in two different versions. Suzie – or Pamela Jones – has just lost her parents in a plane or car accident and takes refuge with her aunt Harriet or with her uncle Bill or her uncle Harry, all of whom are keen to find a fiancé for their young niece. The variations are due to the existence of two versions of the unfinished text, but are also attributable to Guy de Cointet's writing, with its linguistic games and stage business governed by a system of equivalences between characters, words, situations, props and sets. In each version two characters engage in an asymmetrical dialogue: one listening, the other talking; one mute, masked and expressive, hanging on the imperturbable monologue of the other who speaks for them both.


Tery Arnold and Jane Zingale

Californian actress Tery Arnold was part of various mask theatre companies between 1973 and 1980: the LA Mask Theater, the LA Mask Research Foundation and then the LA Mask Exchange. With the latter group she developed the discreet, inexpressive "me mask", moulded directly on the face. In Santa Monica in the spring of 1983 she rehearsed The Bridegroom with Guy de Cointet, who at the time was showing an interest in the possibilities of mime. 1984 found her in Paris, studying the "neutral mask" with Jacques Lecoq. Back in Los Angeles she contacted actress Jane Zingale, who had played in many of de Cointet's theatre pieces, and the pair were keen to perform the last work of their mutual friend. In November 1985, nearly two years after the artist's death, they performed The Bridegroom in the living room of fellow actress Jamie Smith Jackson's house in Topanga Canyon, outside Los Angeles, and asked Jackson to film them. In the course of two performances they slipped in slight variations. The resultant video is considered a posthumous archive and is approached here as an initial adaptation straying from an already unstable original.


Béatrice Balcou

Born in France in 1976 and now living in Brussels, Béatrice Balcou creates situations whose innovative exhibition rituals challenge our way of looking at and perceiving art and its artefacts. In performances she calls Ceremonies, in which she intensifies the process of unpacking, contemplating and repacking a work by another artist, she spins a kind of unbroken strand between the work's periods of sleep and wakefulness. In her orchestration of different relationships between art, work and repose, she blurs the conventional distinctions between the phases of production, diffusion and consumption, and calls into question the allocation of their roles. 


Hedwig Houben

Hedwig Houben was born in the Netherlands in 1983 and is now based in Brussels. Her work, as freelance curator Jan Van Woensel put it in 2010, "is or can be seen as a critique and a deconstruction by Hedwig Houben of the work of Hedwig Houben." She engages in a kind of "ongoing conversation" with her work in which she is both her and herself, or, in her own words, "I" and "the performer" – both the creative artist torn by self-questioning and the narrator of this process. The Bridegroom is her first venture into including the work of another artist in her own artistic and personal territory.


Christophe Lemaitre

Artist, curator and publisher (Postdocument), Christophe Lemaitre (b. France 1981, lives in Paris) has been working horizontally since 2010. Adopting a multi-authorial stance with regard to the research fields and collaborative modes he works in, he grants his tools the capacity to decide his message and in doing so allows his works a certain potential for autonomy.

infos pratiques

90 min


day pass 10€ / concessions 8€

single event 5€

admission to the exhibition is free



book in advance: +33 (0)1 64 62 77 77

1 pm: Paris-Opéra Bastille > Ferme du Buisson

1 am: Ferme du Buisson > Paris Nation + Châtelet


advance booking essential: +33 (0)1 64 62 77 77 or online