The British Museum’s Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries have reopened after nine months' closure for a major refurbishment. The galleries house the most comprehensive collection of Japanese artefacts outside of Japan, and Tatsuo Miyajima’s Time Waterfall – panel #8 (Blue), a new acquisition for the museum, greets visitors into the newly redesigned galleries alongside some 430 pieces that explore how continuity and change have shaped Japan’s past and present.
Miyajima’s poetic and technological works have focussed on using light-emitting diodes or, in his words, ‘gadgets’ since the 1980s. This 1.6m tall panel displays a continuous flow of falling, randomly generated numbers from 1 to 9 in varying sizes and intervals, representing the stages of human existence as explored in humanist religions. Time Waterfall combines contemporary materials with the ideas of Buddhist teachings to make us aware of how life is in constant flux. The British Museum’s head of the Japanese section, Tim Clark, states that the “mesmerising” work succeeds in making us “engaged in electronics”, aware of the passing of time and in reinforcing Miyajima’s own motto: “Keep changing. Connect with everything. Continue forever.”
A previous floor-to-ceiling-length Time Waterfall panel was included in our 50th anniversary exhibition ‘Everything at Once’ in 2017, and Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum will be the next to feature Miyajima’s LED works, showing the large-scale installation, Sea of Time, in its group exhibition ‘Catastrophe and the Power of Art’, opening 6 October.