Tatsuo Miyajima is one of Japan’s foremost sculptors and installation artists. Employing contemporary materials such as electric circuits, video, and computers, Miyajima’s supremely technological works have centred on his use of digital light-emitting diode (LED) counters, or ‘gadgets’ as he calls them, since the late 1980s. These numbers, flashing in continual and repetitious – though not necessarily sequential – cycles from 1 to 9, represent the journey from life to death, the finality of which is symbolized by ‘0’ or the zero point, which consequently never appears in his work. This theory derives partially from humanist ideas, the teachings of Buddhism, as well as from his core artistic concepts: ‘Keep Changing’, ‘Connect with All’, and ‘Goes on Forever’. Miyajima’s LED numerals have been presented in grids, towers, complex integrated groupings or circuits and as simple digital counters, but are all aligned with his interests in continuity, connection and eternity, as well as with the flow and span of time and space. ‘Time connects everything’, says Miyajima. ‘I want people to think about the universe and the human spirit.’
Tatsuo Miyajima was born in 1957 and lives and works in Ibaraki, Japan. He finished undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1986 after which he began experimenting with performance art before moving on to light-based installations. In addition to participating in numerous international biennales and important group shows, he has held solo exhibitions at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2011), Miyanomori Art Museum, Hokkaido (2010), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1997), Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain (1996) and Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (1996). He has participated in the Venice Biennale (1988, 1999) and in numerous group exhibitions, from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2012) to the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art (2008). In 2006, Miyajima was selected to serve as Vice President of Tohoku University of Art and Design.