John Latham: God is Great and Belief Systems as Such. The first 'God is Great' work was made in 1989. It united the three sacred texts of the great monotheistic religions: the Torah in Hebrew, the New Testament in English and the Qur'an in Arabic, within a single glass sculpture. The show will include works from the series from 1989 to the present day. 'Tatsuo Miyajima's is the painting of time on the surface of space.' A. Bonito Oliva. Beginning with number one he continues with endless counting using a network of digital LED devices and mirrored surfaces.
God is Great and Belief Systems as Such
at Lisson New Space
"The belief system is a rock-bottom source of non-negotiable problems of the day".
John Latham (b.1921) takes up a special place in Britain's art history. He has been best known for his art activism of the sixties: burning the Encyclopedia Britannica (Skoob Tower Ceremony: National Encyclopedias, 1966) or chewing up and then distilling, the pages of Clement Greenberg's standard work of art criticism, putting the resulting alcohol in a glass phial (Still and Chew/Art and Culture, 1966-67, collection MOMA, New York).
Much less understood is Latham's ongoing work reinterpreting notions of time, the universe and the place human beings take up in it. The first 'God is Great' work was made in 1989. It united the three sacred texts of the great monotheistic religions: the Torah in Hebrew, the New Testament in English and the Qur'an in Arabic, within a single glass sculpture. In defining the three major religions as belonging to a single category of belief systems, Latham suggests that "we now have a framework from which all cultures have sprung and with reference to which any unresolved question can be discussed, if not finally resolved".
The exhibition will include works from the series 'God is Great' from 1989 to the present day, as well as works made for the show.
Image: God is Great # 1, 1989. Glass, books and resin. 37 x 40 x 21 cm
Lisson New Space, 29 Bell Street, London, NW1 5BY
at LISSON GALLERY
"Tatsuo Miyajima is one of the most significant artists to have emerged during the tumultuous late 1980s, as part of an overall transformation within contemporary art from an expressionist paradigm to one more closely related to the conceptual orientation of the artwork. In purely historical terms, Miyajima's importance as a figure is linked to the totality with which he embraced a very simple methodology, counting, to express his ideas about a profound and elusive subject, time... Far from fetishising the role of technology in daily life, [he] invites us to see through its illusions and to construct for ourselves a more sceptical attitude toward the ways in which time is experienced."
Dan Cameron, The Place of Time, text for catalogue of Artsonje Museum in Seoul, Korea, 2002
Beginning with number one (Miyajima never employs zero) he continues with endless counting using a network of digital LED devices and mirrored surfaces. "He has understood the profound and dramatic sense of the temporal continuum, its numerical progression that tends toward infinity, since it is outside the reach of the circumstantial existence of the individual...What never fails to appear is the pause, the interstice that separates the number, and that lets it advance towards the future."
"In the end, Tatsuo Miyajima's is the painting of time on the surface of space."
Achille Bonito Oliva, The Deluge of Time, Painting and Numbers on the Surface of Art
Image: Meon 1, 2004. Neon and electrical wire
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