Monday, 13 February 2017

Tatsuo Miyajima - Connect with Everything

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

I am generally not a fan of art galleries or anything of that sort; truth be told, I have a very short attention span and find myself bored quite easily. I have been to my fair share of galleries and exhibitions, predominately during my travels in Europe, but have slowly steered clear due to lack of interest and appreciation for the works. However when I heard about Tatsuo Miyajima's exhibition at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), I thought it might be something I would be interested in. Tatsuo Miyajima is a Japanese contemporary artist who works with light installations and digital counters. It has been in Sydney for a while now and is on its last month at MCA.

'Tatsuo Miyajima embraces the materials and substance of life in order to explore the nature of being. Numbers and counting sequences are central to this process, revealing time’s relentless, cyclical nature. They also serve to remind us that whilst our time on this planet is brief, our lives have beauty and purpose, for we are one with the cosmos that exists within and outside us.’
Source

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

For Miyajima, the numbers 9-1 reflect a human scale, showing life on a singular level as well as a wider, communal one. The gap between counting cycles – the zero – represents a pause or breath, the “space of death” before life begins once more. Within this cycle, death is simply a state like life: “it is just a question of if it is visible or not.”
Source

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

Arrow of Time (Unfinished Life)
Arrow of Time, refers to the astronomical concept of time’s irreversibility – that it cannot rewind itself and ‘come back’ again. For Miyajima, this is reflective of life itself and the fact that a particular moment in time cannot be re-made.

‘In everyday life, we tend to forget this reality so I would like to communicate that we live in moments that cannot be recovered.’ Creating a situation where ‘those moments are raining from the universe’, he chose red LEDs to express caution and urgency in relation to our brief but significant moment on this planet.
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This was my favourite installation. There were some mats that you could lie down on and look up to see the ticking counters. It was both a little uncomfortable (due to the count down) but largely quite soothing with the red light and the methodical change of numbers.

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

Mega Death
Wrapping around three walls, it is a vast, glittering enclosure of blue counter gadgets that periodically switch off in unison, plunging viewers into temporary darkness before the counting cycle begins again. It is impossible to predict when, or for exactly how many seconds, the counter gadgets will switch off. This element of unpredictability is central to the artist’s work and serves as a metaphor for life itself.

Mega Death represents a memorial to death on an industrial scale over the past century, recalling the Second World War, Hiroshima and Auschwitz. It is also a powerful statement about humanity’s capacity to heal and begin again.
Source
This was intentionally quite an uncomfortable installation due to a sensory overload with the bright / jarring blue lights and the walls filled with little counters.

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA
Time Train to the Holocaust and Counter Coal.

Tatsuo Miyajima - MCA

I think this is a worthwhile exhibition and an apt reminder of the cyclical - and inevitable- nature of life. Tatsuo Miyajima: Connect with Everything is at the MCA until March 5, 2017.

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