Tatsuo Miyajima: Counter Me On

Madrid, November 6 - December 12, 2003

Press Release

Galería Javier López is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Japanese artist, TATSUO MIYAJIMA (1957). For his second show at the gallery, the artist will display an installation of his latest pieces, under the title, “Counter Me On.”

Tatsuo Miyajima completed his post-graduate studies in 1986 at the Tokyo National University. He first attracted attention in 1988 when his work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale, in the Aperto section. He would again participate in 1999 in this contemporary art exhibition representing his country with ‘Mega Death,’ shown in the Japanese Pavilion this installation exemplifies his already well - known digital counters devised from LEDs.

Through his focus on the subjects of time and space, Miyajima follows a Japanese tradition. His exciting technologies operate on the tension between the modern and the past. The artist considers our perception of time to be essential to the basic definition of human spirituality. His work from the 80s made out of materials often already used (old televisions, transistors, etc.) creates virtual electronic nervous systems that combine sound, image and movement. This works enabled the artist to develop the principles that still today guide his work: continuous change, endless change, and a connection with everything. “Infinity, like time itself, keeps changing.”

By the end of 1987, Miyajima produced his first digital counter (that displayed numbers progressively from one to nine, then back again), a generic element that in the artist’s eyes symbolizes the most basic visualization of the passing of time; a notion that ever since then impregnates his work in the form of combinations that explore the infinite symbolic relations of the numeric. In this new series, he plays with the Greek word ‘Me on,’ that means ‘non-existence.’ These digital counters keep counting from nine to one and do not indicate zero. In this works ‘Me on’ means ‘Death.’ The pieces, in harmonious pairs, show Life and Death; Death as non-existence. Yet Miyajima faces the following commonly raised question: is Death in effect non-existence? Buddhism considers Death to be a pause of energy, which prepares one for the next life. The numbers only change in their form and this varies in accordance to the energies’ proportional force. The structure of the neon tube remains fixed and its presence is accentuated by the stainless surface of the background mirror. Further, it is the viewer the one who perceives the energy changes, and thus, the one that recreates either existence or non-inexistence with his own presence.

Despite the existing reference to Serial art from the 70s, his work also alludes to Buddhist precepts. Miyajima sees Buddhism as a religion about time. His numerical images symbolize in their unceasing change the extensive challenge of visualizing the vast complexity of the universe; defiance defined as much by Buddhist philosophy as by modern Physics. In this universe the individual represents nothing more than a tiny, but significant unit within a vast and incomprehensible whole. But above all, Miyajima is, like any other artist, an inventor that uses images that offer his particular vision of reality.

He has recently exhibited at the Hayward Gallery in London, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in California.

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Artist Page

Tatsuo Miyajima

Selected Press

Caballo Verde - La Razón
December 12, 2003

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Galería Antiqvaria nº222
December, 2003

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La Vanguardia
November 26, 2003

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El Cultural - El Mundo
November 20, 2003

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Tatsuo Miyajima: Counter Me On

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