Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver


Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver (real name: Shuzo Azuchi) was born in 1947 in what is now Otsu, Shiga Prefecture. (Japan) Mainly lives in Tokyo.


He first became involved in artistic activities such as Happenings as a high school student, and while enrolled in the Philosophy Department at his university, was greatly influenced by a published collection of Marcel Duchamp’s works. After moving to Tokyo in 1967 and presenting a series of experimental films which combined what was on the screen with what was outside it, in 1973, Gulliver embarked on one of his most important works, ‘Body Contract’. In this pivotal piece in the artist’s career, Gulliver divided his body up into 80 parts and through the use of an executive committee entrusted the custody of each to 80 people following his death. In 1984, Gulliver staged ‘De-Story’, a 240-hour performance work involving a structure comprised of three cuboids, each of which corresponded to the volume of space required for him to “stand,” “sit,” and “lie.” Then in the 90s, having developed an 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, Gulliver began devoting himself to work that made use of the initials of these components, ATCG. On the other hand, in recent years, Gulliver has continued to develop the ‘Ex-Sign’ series based on an interest in “shapes” and “marks” that dates back to the 1970s. Although Gulliver’s works, as a reflection of his broad interests, comprise an extremely diverse range of media, including drawings, installations, and performances, all of them raise unique questions regarding existence and the self, avoid any obvious or preexisting framework, and adopt a consistently challenging attitude to fundamental issues. While these activities hold a unique position in post-war art, a large number of the work is still unreleased, leaving his countenance in mystery.