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Zuzushii Art Laboratory – embarkation exhibition

The Embarkation Exhibition, Zuzushii Art Laboratory

Roll up. Roll up. Everything must go! Fumico Azuma and Tim Can, art experimentalists extraordinaire, are changing tack, and they’ve got a ship load of art to clear and a ton of surreal ideas to share. Judy Parkinson was intrigued to find out.

Fumico and Tim have been making art interventions and investigations in the Zuzushii Art Laboratory on the Hastings sea front for six years. Their lab turned shop turned studio has been a window into their jagged imaginations and adventurous thinking that is sometimes unsettling, and always engaging.

This is their last show in Hastings, and it is a collection of multi-dimensional collages, videos and sculptures. The small gallery is jam packed full of ideas and reminiscences in a glorious profusion of media constructed from an attic’s worth of once precious toys, trinkets, clothing accessories and books, plus hardware debris like screws, nails, springs, wires and so much more. The works are subversive, dark, satirical, absurd, sad and never fail to provoke and bend the mind.

The couple met in Barcelona one autumn day 23 years ago and created a music trio called Doctor Zuzushii Monkey. Zuzushii can be translated from Japanese as ‘cool’. When three became two, Fumico and Tim decided to try out other life and work styles. “I never wanted to look back and think, if only …,” says Tim. “Our mantra is ‘what’s next?’” After four years in Barcelona, they went full nomad on their Zuzushii travels to Indonesia, back to Spain, Tokyo, Fumico’s birthplace, then Naxos, the Greek island and Peckham. In Berlin they lived in a caravan and built themselves a log cabin where they tried to set up a gallery, but bureaucracy got in the way and Hastings beckoned.

Tim’s collages mix Victoriana, messages in cut up punk style newsprint and childhood nightmares of visits to the dentist. He depicts cheese dreams of Dada-ist absurdity about boyhood rowing adventures and adult insanity. He imagines a prime minister’s peccadilloes – how appropriate is that in July 2022? There are three dimensional instillations made from broken pin ball tables, religious manifestations in scavenged boxes with glass windows, made from doll’s feet and not very cuddly toy monkey heads. Do I see Donald Trump screaming at a butterfly? Is time bleeding? This is thinking out of the box, in boxes.

The time has come for Fumico and Tim to launch the next chapter of their creative odyssey. They have done dry land for now, and their next Zuzushii art laboratory will be on a seaworthy Dutch barge, an idea they’ve had in mind for a few years, and they are currently viewing potential vessels on the Thames. The barge will be their new home, studio, laboratory and gallery space, a touring platform of performance and visual creativity that will wend its way through the UK waterways.

Any one of the pieces in this show could be yours. Fumico and Tim are literally clearing the decks and don’t want to take anything with them. Channel your inner Michael Corleone and make them an offer. They can always refuse, but probably won’t. There are no fixed prices, and all proceeds will go towards the launching of the Zuzushii Art Barge.

ZuZushii Art Laboratory

26 White Rock, Hastings TN34 1JY

Exhibition from 6th to 31st July

Open Wednesdays to Sundays, 10am to 5pm

Films and music by Zuzushii Monkey on

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Posted 11:52 Thursday, Jul 14, 2022 In: Visual Arts

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