Turning Japanese: Tatsuo Miyajima in Sydney

Turning Japanese: Tatsuo Miyajima in Sydney

All of the lights

Text: Brittany Lane

Bathe in the afterglow of Tatsuo Miyajima’s seductive field of light at the Museum of Contemporary Art

Just as our days start to get warmer and the sun lingers a little longer on the horizon, the Museum of Contemporary Art announced their highly anticipated Summer exhibition, a slot renowned for bringing art world heavyweights to Australian shores (Yoko Ono, Annie Leibovitz and Anish Kapoor, to name just a few). 

The next edition promises to fit the bill, with powerhouse Tokyo born artist Tatsuo Miyajima set to illuminate our summer days with his largest solo exhibition this side of the equator to date.

Opening on November 3 and curated by Rachel Kent, Tatsuo Miyajima: Connect with Everything charts his forty year fascination with LED light, from early prototypes through to large-scale environments, as well as video and performance works.

Turning Japanese: Tatsuo Miyajima in Sydney (фото 1)

Known for his hypnotic, immersive light installations, Miyajima's work is epic in scale and impact, like giant glimmering constellations which dwarf the human form and send the audience into a stupefied wonder.

Exemplifying the Japanese's reputation for exquisite craftsmanship, Miyajima uses LED light and digital counters as the building blocks of his practice, often adding electric wires, glass and mirror cast in an immaculate gold or silver.

Turning Japanese: Tatsuo Miyajima in Sydney (фото 2)

Despite the cold, futuristic aesthetic of his work, he touches on some issues at the core of human existence, including mortality, time and human destruction of the earth, drawing on his dedication to the Buddhist faith.

His vast installation Mega Death, a highlight of the survey, is a silent, twinkling memorial to death during the Second World War, recalling Hiroshima and Auschwitz. It features a room full of blinking blue LEDs, each representative of human life or energy, which switch off at random intervals, plunging viewers into complete darkness.

Turning Japanese: Tatsuo Miyajima in Sydney (фото 3)

Recently exhibited at the Met Breuer in New York, Arrow of Time: Unfinished Life is informed by his study of Buddhist philosophy and modern physics. Featuring 250 digital light-emitting diode (LED) counters programmed to count from one to nine repeatedly, the work explores the concept of infinity and the endless cycle of birth and death.

After an hour or two of visual stimulation, head to the pop-up Cherry Blossom Bar on the ground floor to decompress over a Japanese inspired cocktail and more sashimi than you can poke a chopstick at. The Cherry Blossom Bar will pop-up from October 27 to March 5, with signature cocktails crafted by QT Hotel Sydney's mixologist Jared Thibault.

Turning Japanese: Tatsuo Miyajima in Sydney (фото 4)

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