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(Japanese, B. 1957)
Counter Line No. 5
light emitting diode, IC, electric wire and aluminium panel
11 x 208.4 x 3.5 cm. (4 3/8 x 82 x 1 3/8 in.)
Executed in 1990
Christie's New York, 14 November 2007, Lot 407
Private Collection, Japan
Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, Everything That's Interesting is NEW, Athens, Greece, 1996 (illustrated, pp. 202-203 ).
Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, Monument to Now, Athens, Greece, 2004 (illustrated, p. 267).
Athens, Greece, Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, Everything That's Interesting is NEW, January-April 1996.
Athens, Greece, Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, Monument to Now, June 2004-March 2005.

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Lot Essay

Japanese artist Tatsuo Miyajima fuses modern technology with a Buddhist's appreciation for time, existence, and the mutability of experience. After beginning his career in the 1970s as a performance artist, he eventually seized upon the use of what he calls "gadgets" - individual light emitting diodes (LED) which he enlists in a variety of arrangements and combinations to explore his long-standing meditations on life, meaning, and mortality. Counter Line No. 5 (Lot 1574), executed in 1990, features a long, narrow band, totaling nearly two meters in length, of black LEDs emitting a seemingly random display of electronic numbers. As such, the piece evokes the elegant minimalism of Donald Judd's wall "stacks" and "progressions", but mesmerizes the viewer with the steady syncopated pulse of the numbers. Their movement is reminiscent of that of a ticker-tape progression, but the random and seemingly never repeated appearance of the numbers also speaks to the artist's own philosophical disposition. He has stated, "In the same way that there are billions of stars in the solar system, one person is made up of billions of cells. There is the same kind of scale between one person and the universe. In Buddhism, one person is one and at the same time represents the complexity of the universe. It is impossible to comprehend either the individual person or the universe. How much meaning is there in counting the whole world? The state of research in counting has now given us the quark, and the quest continues, but with what meaning?"

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