Brian Hewitt: Life Time (3 stars)

Brian Hewitt: Life Time

Photo: Jean-Pierre Stoop


A familiar name at the Corn Exchange Gallery after his appearance in the Open group show in 2007, and also one of the more attention-grabbing graduates at last year’s Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show, Brian Hewitt returns to Constitution Street with another version of the installation which featured in the latter exhibition.

You could say the piece in question – Hewitt’s approaching death, entitled ‘Reckoning’ – is occurring all the time, and what we see here is just a sculptural manifestation of it. Having predicted (in a manner which remains vague; possibly he means ‘guessed’) that his death will occur on 30 December 2043, Hewitt has filled a featureless white cube with live video projections of various related statistics. In red numbers, which decrease steadily, we see the advance of time to Hewitt’s ‘death’ and another figure, labelled ‘neocortical neurons’ – perhaps the amount remaining inside his brain. Meanwhile, the figures in black increase: the time since his birth, the amount of breaths he has taken, beats his heart has pumped, asteroids which have entered the atmosphere, stars which have formed.

It’s a strikingly simple idea, and in the way that these digits swell and increase as we look at them (the number of neutrinos which have passed through his body moves too fast for the eye to register) the pondering of time and statistics as they relate to human life becomes an almost abstract concept. A version of his last Corn Exchange exhibit ‘Constellation No.5’ also appears, but it’s the advancing numbers that grab the imagination.

Corn Exchange Gallery, Edinburgh, until Wed 15 Apr

Life. time

  • 3 stars

Artist Brian Hewitt has calculated and predicted the day he will die, based on various factors including his health and the amount of radiation he will be exposed to. In this installation he displays his findings and counts down the numbers pertaining to his life.


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