For its retrospective exhibition of French artist Guy de Cointet's visual work, M Leuven has reprinted 'ACRCIT', an oblique newspaper originally published in Los Angeles in 1971.
In plain black and white it brings together a range of his language, pattern and number designs. Some of these are puzzles and some just abstracted signs - and often it's hard to tell whether there's a meaning to be decrypted, or whether the medium is the message. Not surprisingly, De Cointet included a reference to Marshall McLuhan's 'Understanding Media' (a quote about radar).
One interesting visual puzzle is a double-crescent emblem described (in mirror script) as the Prophet Muhammed's signature, which he would write with his sword in the sand in one stroke.
Also included are a few of his esthetical math formulas, one using binary, another a combination of binary and numerical notation, to create deceptively simple patterns of numbers.
De Cointet's work has been compared to Mallarmé's experimental poetry, but these number games seem to come from a very different register - closer to, say, the work of Stefan Themerson. It's perhaps the most fascinating strand in his varied work, which in LA would branch out in less austere, more colorful and pop-arty directions. The exhibition in Leuven includes several other of such earlier, 'avant-sudoku' works.