No Thing, 2024

Relief embossing on Japanese washi paper, framed in Medieval stained walnut.

No Thing
is a relief embossing on paper that draws from the Japanese interpretation of Ten Verses on Oxherdinga series of short poems and accompanying drawings from the year 1278 that illustrate a herder’s search for his lost ox bull. The verses served as a parable in the Zen tradition to describe the stages of a practitioner's progress toward enlightenment, culminating in a starkly empty circle representing the ultimate stage of “mu”: pure harmony or the essence of nothingness. With this work, Couzijn sets the conceptual notion of nothingness against a composition of visually dense symbols and abstraction, reflecting the Zen concept of enlightenment as a return to the elemental state of non-distinction.

In the framework of the group exhibition Aesthetic Echoes at Plus-One Gallery in Antwerp, the participating artists were asked to reimagine the 12-inch vinyl record cover of a number, album or artist they feel intertwined with and to reflect its essence and their own artistic interpretation of it. This particular work was inspired by the sonic composition titled Sukima (blank space) – made by Japanese sound artist FUJI||||||||||TA – which explores various modes of abstraction using the idiosyncratic sound qualities of the composer’s self-built organ, consisting of eleven pipes, an air pump and no keyboard.

The composition – characterized by staccati chords that are contrasted by moments of silence – is a rhythmic and melodic exploration of the organ's harmonic capacities, mirroring the herder's quest for harmony and enlightenment in Ten Verses on Oxherding. In extending this thematic exploration through a dialogue between the relief embossing and the composition, Couzijn merges historical spiritual motifs with contemporary experimental forms, a recurring theme in his artistic practice.

For inquiries: thomas@plus-one.be.

Edition of 15.
1 edition (without frame): 29 x 29 cm.