Pierre Guyotat was primarily known as a radical and subversive author. An innovator in the French language, Guyotat brought revolution into poetry, altering the very structures of language and culture. The French publication of Tomb for 500,000 Soldiers (1967), and Eden, Eden, Eden (1970, which was immediately censored upon its release) lay bare Guyotat’s visions of war and sexual exploitation, as well as his account of the cosmological nature of existence. Throughout his career, Guyotat’s writing was always in close collaboration with visuals artists. Though he began drawing as a teenager, his practice long remained a secret. Many of his early drawings were lost after he experienced a physical and personal collapse in the early 1980s, at which point he stopped drawing altogether. His drawing practice was revealed by the exhibition, Pierre Guyotat, la matière de nos oeuvres (2016) organised by his friend Azzedine Alaïa. Guyotat resumed drawing in 2015 for this occasion, which would develop into a remarkable practice. Guyotat’s drawings weave an extremely complex and yet direct language. Drawing from memory and symbolism: they present scenes of sexuality, freedom, joy and exploitation. They sometimes draw on mythological figures, or stem from the world he created himself, a world of symbolic (masculine) “whores” which in their own exploitation embodied the destiny of humankind. His stature as an uncompromising artist and poet makes him a model for creatives of all generations.

Pierre Guyotat was born in 1940 in Bourg-Argental, France, and died in 2020 in Paris, France. His drawings were first exhibited in Paris at Azzedine Alaïa’s exhibition space in 2016 then in 2017. Other exhibitions were held at Cabinet, London (2017); Yvon Lambert, Paris (2018); diaphanes, Berlin (2018); Villa Medici, Rome (2019) and The Box, Los Angeles (2019). His archive is held at the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Download BiographyUpdated 13 May 2020

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