Guy Rombouts Oei


Guy Rombouts will transform the wondrous word ‘oei’ into a total installation at S.M.A.K., opening on 1 April 2023.

In July 1976, the artist spent a week filling a notebook from cover to cover with the word ‘oei’ (oops), which then became its title.

The word weaves its way through the book like one long stream of consciousness, adopting various guises, to form a primal litany in which the mistakes are sung over and over again in all their impossibility.

Guy Rombouts believes it is impossible to communicate directly in our language and that certain emotions are therefore inexpressible. Since the 1960s, he has been searching for systems in which form and meaning coincide to the optimum extent.

The artist committed his acrophonic (the sound of the initial letter) font to paper at the beginning of the 1980s, thereby allowing words to literally acquire form. Together with Monica Droste (1958-1998), his partner in both life and art, Rombauts renamed the script AZART in 1986. It is distinguished by its lack of intersecting lines. The name references, amongst other things, the old French spelling of the word ‘hazard’ and the Russian word ‘azart’, which means ‘inspiration’ or ‘passion in the game’.

In the exhibition ‘Oei’, presented in S.M.A.K.’s Art Now space, the artist bridges the early beginnings of his practice and transforms this marvellous word into a total installation.

Posture Editions will publish a facsimile of the ‘Oei’ notebook to accompany the exhibition.

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