Art We Love: The Playful Profundity of These Transforming Paintings

On Tatsuo Miyajima's 'Painting of Change' (2020).

Tatsuo Miyajima's Painting of Change. Photo: Vivienne Chow.

For an episode of the Art Angle podcast, we asked Artnet News writers and editors to tell us about one work of art that brings them joy. The following is a part of a series of transcripts of the answers. You can listen to the entire podcast on Apple Music, Spotify, or here


The work I’ve chosen is called Painting of Change, from a series by Japanese artist Tatsuo Miyajima.

Miyajima is best known for his sculptures and installations that employ digital LED counters. But in this painting series, which I first saw at his solo exhibition titled “Art in You” at Lisson Gallery in London in early 2022, Miyajima transformed these digital counters into analogue.

The artist adapted the digital display into minimalistic paintings of numbers, with each digit made of seven panels in different colors, hung in the exact same style as how a number is displayed in a digital counter. Like his other installations, the digit featured in “Painting of Change” can change too. But the change must be done manually.

During my visit, I had to roll a specially designed die. The outcome dictated how the painting was going to change. I picked the painting that had the number 9 on display. I rolled the die, and I got 1. Then the gallery staff took four panels off the wall and changed the display from 9 to 1.

The number cycle from 1 to 9 symbolizes the cycle of life that never stops. The beginning is the end, and the end is the beginning. Death comes with rebirth, and phoenix rises from the ashes. Change is an integral part of the life cycle, and a lot of the times, it’s out of your control. This is what the work has taught me. In this work I find peace and solace, which brings me joy—even just for a fleeting moment.

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