Akio Suzuki is known as a pioneer of sound art, but the breadth of his activities and the form of his works far exceeds the boundaries of the genre. Suzuki’s journey as an artist began in 1963 with a performance at Nagoya station, in which he threw a bucket full of junk down a staircase. The inspiration behind this performance — the idea that if one were to hurl an object down a well-balanced stairway, a pleasant rhythm might be the result — took the desire to “listen” as its subject. That desire to hear, to listen has remained the one constant in Suzuki’s stance as an artist. During the sixties, Suzuki’s sense of playfulness led him to undertake a series of Self-Study Events, where he explored the processes of “throwing” and “following”, taking the natural world as his collaborator. Suzuki has been also active in the improvised music scenes in different continents, and has collaborated with Aki Onda, Takehisa Kosugi, Derek Bailey, Steve Lacy, George Lewis, David Toop, and John Butcher.
For this event, part of Thirty Three Thirty Three’s Japan:London series, he presents a form of performance he refers to as Conceptual Soundwork. Applying a number of self-imposed, simple and austere rules, he uses objects close at hand in a mode of “intellectual play”. While these events do on the one hand express a critique of meaningless improvised performance, at the same time Suzuki is constantly aware of the audience’s process of listening and he attempts to create contemporaneous connections with the site of performance. It was around this time that Suzuki began to travel frequently to the US and Europe, and his performances at leading music festivals, Festival d’Automne (Paris, 1978) and Documenta 8 (Kassel, 1987) were rapturously received.
The Asylum, Peckham
Monday 29 August (Bank Holiday Monday)
Names of individual pieces:
“Using Papers” (1978)
“Dinner Plates” (1979)
“Spiral Sound” (1979)