Tatsuo Miyajima’s Numbers

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Tatsuo Miyajima

Tatsuo Miyajima is a Japanese artist born in 1957 (Tokyo). He lives and works in Ibaraki (Japan).

Tatsuo Miyajima’s works combine a performative aspect with architectonic structures, sometimes taking the shape of geometric patterns or organic shapes as well as encompassing horizontal and vertical surfaces.

Miyajima never employs 0… Numbers from 1 to 9 or backwards.

Tatsuo Miyajima’s 3 concepts


  • Keep changing: “A work of art would be treated as worthless if it were mutable.”
  • Connect with everything: “Nothing could be independent… Art should be positively engaged with anything.”
  • Continue forever: “Everything moves on a never-ending line as it changes itself.”

Pile Up Life

Lisson Gallery

Tatsuo Miyajima, Pile up Life No 5 & 6 (2008).
Light Emitting Diode, IC, stone (pumice), electric wire, h. 84 x w. 64 x d. 64 cm.

Lisson Gallery

Tatsuo Miyajima’s ‘Time Waterfall’

Art Basel / Hong Kong March 24-26 2016 Numerical Waterfall shown across the entire façade of ICC International Commerce Centre.

“Time Waterfall was realized for the first time because of the setting: the ICC Tower of Hong Kong. On the façade of this building, numbers cascade randomly down.

These numbers fall continuously, count continuously from nine to oneZero is never showen. These numbers symbolize the lives of people. And while counting, demonstrate ‘life’ or ‘to live’. The void of zero stands for death. This cycle of life and death continues. This is a Buddhist concept (called ‘Sunya’). It demonstrates the eternity of life. Numbers continue to fall… continue to change.”


Each digit will be of different sizes, and each will cascade at its own speed, creating a number of layers that each represents a trajectory of individual lives.


“This continual change is the point. The eternity of life and contemplation of life and death. A single transitory life that does not return…

Time Waterfall exists to allow us to think about the fact that we are living now”.



Life Face Vol.3 0059995… (Tatsuo Miyajima, 1991)

Mega Death

Tatsuo Miyajima, “Mega Death” installation (1999) LED, IC, electric wire, sensor…

Mega Death is Miyajima’s largest LED piece. ‘Mega Death’ is his retort to the 167 million lives estimated to have been lost to war in the 20th century.

I want to show that because of nuclear weapons, the cycle of human life is cut off.’


Author Bio


Editor in Chief Mehdi Chourou