In collaboration with Annie Gentils Gallery, Antwerp, Tatjana Pieters, Ghent presents a duo presentation by Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver (JP, 1947) & Guy Rombouts (BE, 1949). The exhibition brings together historical and new works by two important figures from the Belgian and Japanese art history. The selection of new works is the result of Gulliver’s residence in the gallery from October to December 2017. They are a continuation of ‘Quantum’ a project started in 2015 and related to his interest in the body. Guy Rombouts is known for his Azart alphabet and poetic works made from found materials. Being from the same generation, they feel an artistic brotherhood that manifests itself in a similar fascination for the world. This culminates in a shared interest in the theory of Quantum and matter. With both artists, language and character return as a symbol for certain systems. Rombout’s Azart alphabet is in fact a new alphabet that distinguishes itself from the linear Latin alphabet because of its shape. It thus indicates an interest in a circular world view, which we also see in the aspects of time and transformation within the work of Gulliver.
Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver’s first artistic activities, such as happenings date back to when he was still a highschool student. After some time studying philosophy at Kyoto University, Gulliver moves to Tokyo in 1967. Here he forms the artist group „PLAY“ and presents a series of experimental films. He quickly gains public attention and makes headlines as one of the leaders of the Japanese ‚futen‘, or hippie movement. Although Gulliver is in contact with the Japanese members of the fluxus movement and others at that time, he never settles down to become a permament gure in neither of the groups, but instead constantly follows his own path, leading to an artistic practice that is very unique and hard to fully classify.
In 1973, Gulliver develops one of his central pieces, called the ‚body project‘. In the project he introduces a yet unknown method on how to take care of his body after his death. He divides his corpse into 80 pieces, which are supposed to fall into the hands of 80 people who are willing to take care of them. Working in cooperation with doctors and lawyers, Gulliver is able to create an entire system in order to actually turn his idea into reality. Each part of the body is connected to a contract, which has to be signed by three persons: the person agreeing on taking care of the part, the artist himself and a third person responsible for taking care of the operation after Gulliver’s death. The first contract was signed in 1977 and until today almost 50 parts of the artist’s body have been distributed to different people. Gulliver’s interest in the body continues to be signi cant for his following work. As an extension of the body contract, in which he has already turned his body into an act of exchanging value, he actually creates his own currency, always using the image of his own eye on the banknotes.
In the 1990’s Gulliver has developed a major interest in the idea that every living thing is ruled by various combinations of the four bases (adenine, thymine, cytosine, guanine) of the DNA structure. Still working in the spheres of the body, Gulliver’s work at that time became centered around the use of the initials of the DNA components, ATCG. Although Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver’s works, as a reflection of his broad interest, consists of a huge diverse of media, including drawings, installations, and performances, all of them raise questions regarding existence and the self, avoid any obvious or pre-existing framework, and adopt a consistently challenging attitude to fundamental issues.