Cyclical Light

Part of the Sydney International Art Series, Connect with Everything is Tatsuo Miyajima’s first major solo exhibition in Australia. One of Japan’s leading contemporary artists, Miyajima is known for his immersive and technologically-driven sculptures and installations. For this, a Sydney-exclusive exhibition, the practitioner will showcase a series of pivotal and more recent works.

Central to his practice, and visible in the display at MCA Australia from 3 November, are numerical counters that count from 1 to 9 repeatedly using light-emitting diodes (LEDs), then go dark momentarily. For Miyajima, the cyclical repetition of numbers, along with the shift from light to dark, reflect the importance of time. He draws inspiration from Buddhist philosophy, with its exploration of mortality and human cycles of death and renewal. Curated by MCA Chief Curator Rachel Kent, who worked closely with Miyajima on his international exhibition Marking Time, this survey exhibition delves into the artist’s highly experimental, and continuously growing oeuvre.

A stand-out piece on show will be Mega Death, a room-scale installation of brilliant, blinking blue LEDs, each representative of human life or energy. A silent, twinkling memorial to the Holocaust, the lights are programmed to switch off at intervals, plunging viewers into complete darkness momentarily, before lighting up and counting once more. Miyajima’s Mega Death represented Japan at the Venice Biennale in 1999. More recent projects will include Arrow of Time (Unfinished Life), 2016, an immersive installation comprised of LED, IC, electric wire and iron components.

Tatsuo Miyajima, Connect with Everything, 3 November 2016 – 5 March 2017, MCA Australia.

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1. Tatsuo Miyajima, Mega Death, 1999, Installation view at the Japan Pavilion, 48th Venice Biennale. Image courtesy the artist and SCAI THE BATHHOUSE © the artist, Photograph: Shigeo Anzai.