Collection

KAWARA On

[1932 - 2014 ]

From I Am Still Alive Series (1970-2013) [1998]

  • telegram 29.7×21.0cm

Oct. 21, 1981 [1981]

  • acrylic on canvas, cardboard box with newspaper 45.5×61.5×4.0cm

One Million Years - Future [1980-95]

  • xerox copy on paper, loose-leaf binder each: 30.5×22.8×7.6cm(10 volumes)

[Audio Guide]

In contrast to Kawara On’s most well-known work, the Today series, One Million Years marks out a grand scale of time far beyond the time in which the artist was living. The “Past” version articulates the one million years prior to the work—up until the year before the work’s creation, and the “Future” version does the same for the one million years in the future, beginning in the year after the work was made, closely packed together in sequence on white paper. The time period in which we are living occupies only a few lines. The first page of “Past” version says, “For All Those Who Have Lived and Died,” and the last page of the “Future” version is inscribed with, “For the Last One.” These books of time allow us to catch a glimpse of the vast cosmic time that exists beyond the short beginning and end of the human lifespan. It also tells us that the time in which we are living is a macroscopic viewpoint that is the juncture between an infinite past and future.

June 30, 1978 [1978]

  • acrylic on canvas, cardboard box with newspaper 25.5×33.0×4.0cm

May 1, 1971 [1971]

  • acrylic on canvas, cardboard box with newspaper 25.5×33.0×4.0cm

[Audio Guide]

Kawara On is known internationally for his Today series, in which the canvas is painted only with the date on which it was executed. The series was begun in 1966 as a way of proving his existence, and it was continued throughout his life with the strictly imposed rule that any painting left incomplete on the designated dated was destroyed. He travelled internationally, and would inscribe the date using the language of whatever place he was in, except for countries that did not use the Roman alphabet, where he would use Esperanto. The characters resemble newspaper typeface, and appear as though they have been made mechanically. However, no painting has the same date or brushstrokes. The date paintings overturn the ordinariness of the time that casually passes us by. The white letters emerge against the black background draws our attention to themomentary flash of our finite lives. These paintings bring invisible time before our eyes, a catalyst to awakening our consciousness.

One Million Years - Past [1970-71]

  • xerox copy on paper, loose-leaf binder each: 30.5×22.8×7.6cm(10 volumes)

In contrast to Kawara On’s most well-known work, the Today series, One Million Years marks out a grand scale of time far beyond the time in which the artist was living. The “Past” version articulates the one million years prior to the work—up until the year before the work’s creation, and the “Future” version does the same for the one million years in the future, beginning in the year after the work was made, closely packed together in sequence on white paper. The time period in which we are living occupies only a few lines. The first page of “Past” version says, “For All Those Who Have Lived and Died,” and the last page of the “Future” version is inscribed with, “For the Last One.” These books of time allow us to catch a glimpse of the vast cosmic time that exists beyond the short beginning and end of the human lifespan. It also tells us that the time in which we are living is a macroscopic viewpoint that is the juncture between an infinite past and future.

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