Tatsuo Miyajima: Drawings
Buchmann Galerie, Berlin
28 September - 3 November 2018
Buchmann Galerie presents the first solo exhibition of drawings by TATSUO MIYAJIMA (*1957, Tokyo)
Tatsuo Miyajima is one of Japan‘s most important sculptors and installation artists. In his œuvre, the artist – who became known primarily for his works using digital light diodes (LED) – is concerned with concepts of time, its (non-) calculability and its cultural and existential dimension.
One important component of the works is counting and sequences of numbers. These numbers, appearing in continuous and recurrent - although not necessarily consecutive - cycles from 1 to 9, represent the journey of life until death, whose finality is symbolized by ‚0‘ or the zero point. Consequently, this never appears in the artist‘s work. The series of works on paper from 1995 to 2018 now collected in the Buchmann Box explore several issues essential to Tatsuo Miyajima‘s work.
Kũ Drawing Series
In the Zen tradition Kũ stands for emptiness (Kũ is the transcription of the Sanskrit word sunya or sunyata, translated literally as „emptiness“). Tatsuo Miyajima describes how he produced these drawings in a state of Kũ, holding a pencil in his hand, his eyes closed: The lines from my subconscious show my time spent in emptiness. The length of time given in the title, 15 minutes for example, describes the period of time which I spent in an altered state of mind, with my eyes closed.
Innumerable Counts Series
Every number in these drawings represents a moment in the counting cycle from 9 to 1. The empty space in the potentially in infinite sequence of numbers re- presents the figure zero, which - as indicated above - does not appear in his work. In these drawings the artist is attempting to grasp moments in cycles of innumerable counts. The Innumerable Counts visualize life for Tatsuo Miyajima. The spirals or lines in the drawings are thus excerpts from a broader context, from innumerable moments in time.
Count Down Drawing Series
Tatsuo Miyajima provides a different interpretation of the zero, the empty space, in his Count Down Drawing Series: this series of works shows a repea- ted sequence, counting down from 9 to 1, as the title suggests. Here, too, the place of zero (Kũ) is represented by an empty space or fille with a thin gold foil or a microchip. In this variation the empty space is filled; it is, as the artist points out, the field provided with every possibility, the field of potential.
The artist‘s works on paper are an essential component of his practice, seen as equal in status to the installation pieces and performances. They complete the artist‘s complex œuvre, which is characterized by investigation into the significance of counting and time, and by subtle meditations exhibiting sublime precision and finesse.
Important works by the artist can be found in collections including the Tate Gallery London, the Bavarian State Collection of Painting Munich, La Caixa Barcelona, the Deste Foundation in Athens, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Leeum Seoul, Kunstmuseum Bern, and M+ in Hong Kong.
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