Mega Death 1999/2016


Colour is significant within Tatsuo Miyajima’s practice. Blue in particular has meaning across many cultures, suggesting the sky, the universe and infinity. The idea of a colour without limits is explored in the artist’s room-scale installation Mega Death. Wrapping around three walls, it is a vast, glittering enclosure of blue counter gadgets that periodically switch off in unison, plunging viewers into temporary darkness before the counting cycle begins again. It is impossible to predict when, or for exactly how many seconds, the counter gadgets will switch off. This element of unpredictability is central to the artist’s work and serves as a metaphor for life itself.

Mega Death represents a memorial to death on an industrial scale over the past century, recalling the Second World War, Hiroshima and Auschwitz. It is also a powerful statement about humanity’s capacity to heal and begin again.