Since the early 1980s, Rombouts has blurred the existing boundaries between words and objects. The idea of having objects speak for themselves, acts as a drive and utopic horizon behind his artistic practice. The result is a body of work that is idiosyncratic, poetic as well as conceptual. Rombouts is probably best known for his Azart alphabet, which he developed in 1984 with his partner Monica Droste (1958-1998). The line-based alphabet allows words to take on an endless array of two/three-dimensional shapes. Ever since it was first
designed, it has served as a deliberately coincidental procedure for creating objects, sculptures, paintings etc. Inspired by Azart, Rombouts has recently created new, graphic ways of translating words into images. Using the website www.azart.be, everyone can generate images in Azart. Guy Rombouts, (1949-, Geel, Belgium) seems to make a comment on how the flatness of letters and words can create a reality and make that reality non- existing without the words, in line with what the “linguistic relativity principle” suggests. Rombouts does this by inventing a new alphabet; the Azart, a name that refers to A-Z art, but also to the French word “hasard” meaning coincidence. In Azart each letter is translated by a corresponding line, on the basis of the first letter of the word which describes the line. A is angular, B is barred, C is curve, D is deviation and Z is a zigzag line. When the lines are linked together closed forms or word-images appear. Words written in Azart visually define them selves, forming isles of meanings, while words of the alphabet is defined by means of other words. These words, however, are formed by the same letters as the word they define. A circle of definitions are formed, referring again literally to the Azart circled words.