As part of the Sydney International Art Series 2016-17, Tatsuo Miyajima: Connect With Everything is now on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in The Rocks and marks the artist’s first major exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere.
Museum of Contemporary Art Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE said “Tatsuo Miyajima: Connect with Everything introduces audiences to works from across the artist’s extensive career from early LEDs prototypes through to large scale environments, as well as video and performance works which have expanded his object based practice over time.”
One of Japan’s leading contemporary artists, Tatsuo Miyajima is known for his immersive and technologically driven sculptures and installations as well as video and performance works which draw on Buddhist philosophy with its exploration of mortality and the human cycles of life, death and renewal.
Central to the exhibition are numerical counters that count from 1 to 9 repeatedly using light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which then go dark momentarily. For Miyajima, the repetition of numbers, along with the shift from light to dark, reflect the importance of time.
The vast installation Mega Death with its brilliant, blinking blue LEDs, each representative of human life or energy, is a silent twinkling memorial to death during the Second World War, recalling Hiroshima and Auschwitz. The lights are programmed to switch off at intervals, plunging viewers into complete darkness, before lighting up and counting once more.
Counter Coal which comprises of a vast black mound of coal, punctuated by red LEDs has a second work around its perimeter entitled Time Train to the Holocaust which features a model train that hauls tiny blue counter gadgets in its wagons.
Another highlight is a new installation, Arrow of Time (Unfinished Life) which was recently presented at The Met Breuer, New York.
Each weekend from 19 December to 8 January, families can experience the Miyajima space on Level 3 for art making activities inspired by the artist’s practice, where they can turn light into music or meditate on a larger than life lotus leaf.
After viewing the exhibition art lovers can visit the pop-up Cherry Blossom Bar where they can try signature cocktails and enjoy a food menu that pays homage to the cuisine of Japan.
The exhibition runs until 5 March 2017.
Sandra Tiltman Photos: John Pond