Artist Selection: Miyajima Tatsuo

Miyajima Tatsuo

Miyajima Tatsuo is a Japanese artist known for his installations. His artworks usually have numbers as the subject matter, and they symbolise time, change and life according to the works. Miyajima’s range of work varies from performance to sculptures to installations, of which LED devices and other gadgets are an essential part of. It is estimated Miyajima has designed and used over 20000 of these devices for his artworks.

Counter Void is a work displayed at Roppongi Hills, within a busy area of Tokyo. It consists of 6 large digital neon screens of numbers counting backwards from 9 to 1. It was symbolic of death, placed in contrast in an area that was filled with life. After the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, the artwork was switched off to pay tribute to the victims of the tragedy.

Counter Voice is a performance piece which occured near the Fukushima nuclear plant. Miyajima counts down from 9 to 1, and when he reached 0, plunges his face into a pail of water retrieved from the ocean in front of the nuclear plant, which had just been damaged by the tsunami. Though it is still a sensitive work and issue within Japan, this performance was part of a protest against the use of nuclear plant and a tribute to the victims of the disaster.