Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver

Cinematic Illumination

Mar 28–Apr 26, 2020

MoMA

Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver. Cinematic Illumination. 1968–69. Installation view, Japanese Expanded Cinema: Revisited, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
  • MoMA, Floor 4, Studio The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio

In 1969, Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver conceived of an immersive moving-image event created by beaming images from 18 slide projectors across the Tokyo discotheque Killer Joe’s. The resulting Cinematic Illumination had the effect of transforming frame-by-frame film projection into a 360-degree environment intended to meld with the sound, lights, and moving bodies in the underground venue. Gulliver created the nearly 1,500 slides from film footage of everyday actions and magazine imagery, imbuing one of the period’s most spectacular multiple projection works with a do-it-yourself attitude.

Gulliver had staged performances since he was a teenager in the Kansai region, before hitchhiking to Tokyo in 1967 with the intent to pursue filmmaking. There, Gulliver joined a vibrant scene in which art was staged outside of gallery spaces and cinema was expanded to multiple projections or moved off-screen entirely. This dynamic interdisciplinary mix unfolded against the backdrop of a booming postwar youth culture that tapped into global psychedelia and ignited critical debates about technology, politics, and Japanese-US relations.

Originally made for the Intermedia Arts Festival of 1969, this presentation of Cinematic Illumination premieres the recent restoration and acquisition of the work by MoMA’s Department of Media and Performance, building on the groundbreaking reconstruction at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum in 2017. The first presentation of a historical moving-image installation in the Kravis Studio, it brings the 1960s to life on a large scale, interweaving the international history of avant-garde art, experimental approaches to film, and the meeting of art and technology in nightlife spaces.

Organized by Sophie Cavoulacos, Assistant Curator, Department of Film

Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver: Cinematic Illumination coincides with More than Cinema: Motoharu Jonouchi and Keiichi Tanaami, on view at Pioneer Works this spring, organized by Ann Adachi-Tasch, Go Hirasawa, and Julian Ross of Collaborative Cataloging Japan.

The exhibition is presented as part of The Hyundai Card Performance Series.

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.