• ON KAWARA - WORLD TRAVELER THROUGH SPACE AND TIME
  • ON KAWARA - WORLD TRAVELER THROUGH SPACE AND TIME
  • ON KAWARA - WORLD TRAVELER THROUGH SPACE AND TIME
On Kawara `Date Painting(s)`image in courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery
On Kawara `Date Painting(s)`image in courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery
On Kawara `Date Painting(s)`image in courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery

    ON KAWARA DATE PAINTINGS IN NEW YORK AND OTHER 136 CITIES

    17 January 2012

    by Katja Schmolka

    Angela Choon personally presented the artwork of artist On Kawara at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York.  She is truly the Japanese-born artist’s closest confidant, partner and curator and has described his life’s work.  She said it has taken several years to realize this major exhibition.  As clear and to the point as Kawara’s paintings are, the artist himself is as well.  On Kawara who lives in New York, is one of the most reclusive artists of our time.

    The bright, light-filled rooms of the David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea are the perfect place for On Kawara’s famous `Date Painting(s)`.  Painstakingly arranged in exact rows and limited to between 20.5 cm x 25.5 cm and 152.5 cm x 222.5 cm, they hang in two rooms.  The most diverse black shades of the images tell the 40-year history of his life’s work. The first painting was created on January 4, 1944 and dated in white in the classical serif font. Sometimes On Kawara starts with the month first and changes to the date and uses the language of the country he is in.  The artist has visited 136 cities with his portable canvases in his luggage.

    On Kawara’s approach to his `Date Painting(s)` is philosophical. The date refers to the present, recalls the past and encompasses the future, thus becoming history.  They are personally intertwined with him and his environment.  Contemporary witnesses are daily newspapers, which show the dates on which he created a painting.  On Kawara packs every picture in a specially handcrafted shallow cardboard box and includes the newspaper.  A complete work is revealed to the viewer.  There is actually an original New York Times in a glass case at the David Zwirner Gallery that reports the moon landing on July 21, 1969.

    A 100-year handmade calendar, beginning in 1901 and ending in 2100, describes on which days the works were created in numbers and colored dots.  Marked with blue-dotted numbers, dates indicate one work per day, which must be completed exactly at midnight to keep to the date.  Red dots indicate several paintings per day and yellow dots indicate days when no painting was created.  In 40 years, not a month has gone by in which he did not create anything.

    On Kawara is also known for his postcards, which he sent in several long-term projects from various locations throughout the world until 1992.  Provided with descriptive titles, “I got up,” including a stamp of the time when he got up, along with the addressee and recipient.  He often even used the same postage stamps.

    `An interesting forward-looking approach to art begun by an artist who lives in the absolute here and now.`


    Credits

     davidzwirner.com


               


     
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