Lot 930
  • 930

Tatsuo Miyajima

2,400,000 - 3,200,000 HKD
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  • Tatsuo Miyajima
  • Changing Time with Changing Self - Blue Wind
  • LEDs, steel frame, glass mirror and electronic components

Signed and titled in English and dated 2007 on the reverse


Galerie Buchmann, Berlin
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner


France, Nice, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Sickness of the Hunting, 2008, pp. 80-81


The work is in very good condition overall.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note


9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. An alluring rhythm emerges from a cacophony of blinking digits. At varying tempos, each number moves in a descending sequence. The flashing glare of the blue light suggests a pulse, a life. An inevitable curiosity arises out of this paranormal experience and the viewer is prompted to investigate the intention of the creator.

Keep Changing Everything changes.
 Nothing could be permanently fixed.
 Whatever it is, however long it takes, everything changes.
Art should accept such changes positively and represents them in its own ways.
Immutability has been a key word for the definition of art.
A work of art would be treated as worthless if it were mutable.
In our real life, however, things keep changing.
Art should be a reflection of the reality in one sense or the other, and hence, should be continuously changing.
It would be able to give people a tip of wisdom.

Connect with Everything
Everything is interacted with each other. Nothing could be independent.
Therefore, art should be positively engaged with anything, and represents them in its own ways.
Art has long been isolated from the real world, and spoiled within a framework of the 'art world'.
That was a survival guide for art.
It created a tiny paradise, and protected itself from any danger by dissociating itself from the real world.
However, such a closed environment would terminate art eventually as intermarriage tended to have a less competitive result in its reproduction process.
Art should be interacted with any kinds of things.
It will be able to obtain power to give people courage.

Continue Forever
Everything keeps going on forever.
Everything moves on a never-ending line as it changes itself.
Being associated with the term, immortality, means being associated with the universe.
Art has always represented immortality, as people wish to be immortal.
Art represents immortality in its course of mutation.
It would be able to give people hope.1

Tatsuo Miyajima delineates the three main doctrines that govern his work. Changing Time with Changing Self- Blue Wind (Lot 930) satisfies all. The systematic fulfillment of all three prerequisites culminate in the artist's variegated yet consistent oeuvre of work—performance installations that purport the grand objective of portraying, measuring and ultimately expressing in visual terms, the ever elusive concept of time. Time, itself a human construct and yet so absolutely beyond our control, is impossible to illustrate in all its intangibility. Miyajima's adamant use of digits to achieve such a mission proves to be very effective, as nothing better denotes the passage of time than a steady numerical progression. Arranged in a criss-cross fashion on a rectangular mirrored surface, the numerals keep changing. Armed with a reflective quality, the façade of the work seems to invite the audience into its act of collective counting. Interlocked amongst themselves, their changing witnessed by their audience and their light penetrating the space before the work, the digits connect with everything. Seemingly generated out of a premeditated algorithm, but actually illogical and random in truth, the numbers continue forever. To better understand time through destabilizing its conceptual premise Miyajima posits this at his audience.

A large and impressive specimen, Changing Time with Changing Self- Blue Wind comprises of 165 LEDs (light emitting diodes) attached to an expansive mirror. Every node displays its own number that counts from 9 to 1. Each one performs this task at disparate speeds. Tatsuo Miyajima never employs 0 and introduces an absence instead, where no number is shown at all—that is how the artist chooses to capture, or draws attention to, the void that zero represents. Every digit is oriented upright and configured into alternating lines, whether read horizontally or vertically. The background to this congregation of flickering LEDs is an immaculate mirror that ingests, in its reflection, the space in which the work is hung along with all that is within.

Early in his academic days, Tatsuo Miyajima had produced primarily performance art. Having always been intrigued and driven by the interaction between his art and its/his audience yet feeling restricted by the physical limitations of his performance work, he sought to create objects, valued for their transportability and thus feasibility for international viewership, that could fully engage viewers on their own. And so if one would only experience Miyajima installations as if they were surrogate performances and actively respond to them as such, identifying the individual lives that are embedded within each numeral, it would be to fully realize the artist's original intention, fundamental wish behind creating art. Changing Time with Changing Self- Blue Wind makes very obvious its objective. The work invites its audience to probe into the nature of time, the nature of art as well as the nature of human existence. Nothing in life stays permanent, just like time, and art is an agent of change that can only be realized with the complicity of its viewer.

Born in 1957 in Tokyo, Japan, Tatsuo Miyajima studied Oil Painting at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Having served a stint in the cities of New York, Berlin, Paris and London respectively, the artist has acquired a global vision that very few of his contemporaries can rival. Fascinated by the very difficult notion of time, Miyajima proceeds to brave this challenge and resolves to position it as his central subject of investigation. His artistic solution has inaugurated a visual language that defies all boundaries of genres and ethnicities and has accomplished an impressive quality of universal applicability. With a deft and informed use of the latest technology combined with his impeccable acumen for design and an eye for formal aesthetics, the artist has continued to produce beautiful objects through an economy of means yet infused with compounded philosophical implications. Tatsuo Miyajima's achievements as an artist have been recognized internationally as the artist has shown in exhibitions all over the world— he is as active abroad as he is in his native country. He has had solo exhibitions at the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain in Paris, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art in Hiroshima, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Roma in Rome, Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto in Kumamoto and the Kunsthalle Recklinghausen in Recklinghausen, among many others. Notable projects include his participation in "The 48th Venice Biennale: Whither the Arts?," where he showed the spectacular Mega Death, his permanent installations Naoshima's Counter Window and Sea of Time '98 at Benesse Art Site Naoshima and Counter Void as part of the façade of the TV Asahi Building in Tokyo. His work has been acquired into permanent collections of the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, Tate Gallery in London, Samsung Cultural Foundation in Seoul, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain in Paris, Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Texas, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco and Kunstmuseum Bern in Bern, etc.

[1] Artist Statement extracted from artist's website