“MAM Project 15: Tsang Kin-Wah”

by C.B. Liddell

Mori Art Museum, Gallery One
Closes Jan. 15, 2012

The notion that an infinite number of monkeys pounding on an infinite number of typewriters could recreate the complete works of Shakespeare is a well-known thought experiment. Recently, though, it was reported that a computer programmer in America had taken it as a literal challenge and had created millions of virtual monkeys to realize it.

The core idea here, that by throwing enough words up in the air some of them will coalesce to form meaningful patterns, is also integral to the work of Chinese artist Tsang Kin-Wah, who is the latest artist featured in the Mori Art Museum’s Project Series of one-room exhibitions running alongside its main exhibition.

Tsang presents “The Fifth Seal: HE Shall Deliver You Up To Be Afflicted And Killed As HE Was,” part of his ongoing “Seven Seals” series. Using projectors and music in a four-wall video installation, Tsang creates a surreal space where individual words and phrases emerge and spiral around on the walls, weaving increasingly involved patterns.

While the more assiduous viewer may try to crack the “code” or find poetry in the ever-evolving juxtapositions, it is also possible to zoom out and view the lines of text aesthetically, as mere patterns, or, like the English on T-shirts here in Japan, as quaint totems.

If the exhibition has a message, it is perhaps that we live in an age of information overload, in which even uncomprehending minds are always ready to impose their patterns on it. (C.B. Liddell)

The Mori Art Museum is open daily from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (till 5 p.m. Tue.); admission ¥1,500 includes the museum’s main exhibition. For more information, visit www.mori.art.museum.