by Hena Wang
Tatsuo Miyajima is a contemporary artist who creates artwork based on his concept of The Life and the themes “keep changing”, “continue forever”, and “connect with everything”. The Life, or in its original Japanese form, Inochi, describes life not only limited to us human beings, but anything that is living, including plants and animals. The Life is an all inclusive concept for the relationship of time and existence.
Karlyn De Jongh wrote an interesting essay on this, called “Time in the Art of Roman Opalka, Tatsuo Miyajima, and Rene Rietmeyer”. To spare you from reading the 31 page essay, here are some things that I find particularly interesting:
1. Miyajima was not able to articulate the concept of The Life at the beginning of his performance period because he thought he was too inexperienced at the time to explain it.
2. The number 0 never appears in his work. The numbers 1 to 9 is a representation of life itself, and zero represents death, and since death itself is not visible, a moment of darkness is there to substitute the number.
3. 0 could also represent a vast quantity, or future possibilities and potential. It represents a new beginning or new life.
4. Eastern conceptions of “forever” have nothing to do with permanency, because permanency implies stagnancy. He says, “What continues forever changes.”
5. 8 is an interesting number. On an LED screen, the number 8 encompasses all numbers. All numbers are made from pieces of 8.
6. Miyajima believes that the 1884 Greenwich concept of time is a conceptual interpretation of a new modernism and is based off of a general and impersonal theory. Time is supposed to be something that is personal to every individual, and your time is different from everybody else’s. Though this is an interesting concept, this isn’t a valid excuse for being late for work.
This piece in particular incorporates you in the artwork through the warped, mirrored surface, and encourages you to find your own “personal time”. So come to Satellite Gallery and experience it for yourself!