Tatsuo Miyajima, Numerical Beads Painting - 006(detail), 2022, Acrylic on Canvas, Numerical Beads, pencil, 259 x 259 cm
Tatsuo Miyajima, Numerical Beads Painting - 006(detail), 2022,
Acrylic on Canvas, Numerical Beads, pencil, 259 x 259 cm

Tatsuo Miyajima
"Numerical Beads Painting"

Tue. 28 February - Sat. 15 April, 2023
※ no reservation required
Opening Hours: 12:00 - 18:00
*Closed on Sun. Mon. Holidays

With the gleam of light emitting diodes (LEDs), which continuously glisten the shape of the numbers 1 through 9, Tatsuo Miyajima portrays the luminance of human life and its connection to others, using recursive numbers as a universal language. With numbers placed in regular grids, digital loops, or organic forms, the artist invites viewers to experience meditative introspection through ever-changing flickering lights.

In Numerical Beads Painting, a new series of works presented in this exhibition, the flickering light of LEDs is replaced by acrylic beads inscribed with Arabic numerals from 1 to 9. The numerical beads are glued on top of the grid lines on canvas, according to a design drawing randomly produced through a computer programme, by setting the percentage of bead’s occupancy in relation to the total. Like throwing a dice to generate random numbers, this technique evokes the behaviour of life in nature, such as natural selection and mutation. Miyajima then proceeds to do manual labour, in which he applies paint meticulously over the gaps between the numbers. Layers of colour painted in red, blue, yellow, gold, silver, and black spread across the blank areas, mapping out the distribution of life and its absence (or death) and delineating the boundaries as if weaving through the voids. By facing the eternity of the pictorial space with paintbrush in hand and adding dynamic visual effects to the static beads, the work reveals the process of abstraction using numeric signs, while at the same time, manually remedies the relationship of the individual in connection to others.

In Numerical Beads Painting - 008 (2022), Miyajima’s quest for unravelling the endless relationships and proliferation of these events takes on a new dimension. Countless beads―suggestive of individual life―are scattered on the floor, transcending the boundaries of the medium of the canvas that separates the two-dimensional and the spatial. From his early performances counting down numbers to a project that reconnects art and society through public participation, Miyajima’s constant theme on the bounds of space and time and his engagement with the questions on the indeterminacy of the times, will endorse a renewed conceptual enigma to the visitors of this exhibition.

The initial inspiration of the work, recalls Miyajima, came from a chance discovery of numbered beads in a Parisian handicraft wholesaler's shop in the early 1990s. Like jewellery or beads, the shapes that link individual units together may eventually unravel to be reassembled. Chains of reactions and processes creating a situation that governs a moment evoke religious beliefs, revealing the mysteries of life and individual relationships open to a complex world—pointing to a ray of light in our confusing age.

It keeps changing / It connects with everything / It goes on forever ー Tatsuo Miyajima