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Artists On Kawara

On Kawara

Japanese Painter and Conceptual Artist

On Kawara Photo
Movements and Styles: Conceptual Art, Process Art, Post-Minimalism

Born: December 24, 1932 - Kariya, Japan

Died: July 10, 2014 - New York, NY

"I am Still Alive"

On Kawara Signature

Synopsis

On Kawara is one of the most enigmatic of modern artists. Like his forerunner Marcel Duchamp, Kawara retreated from the art scene, avoiding his own exhibition openings and declining to be interviewed, so that his public persona came to be defined solely through his work. But that work itself seems - at first sight - to offer little more reward to biographers. Instead, it methodically and meticulously documents the trajectory of On's life, without apparent ornament, an art based on ideas rather than aesthetics which sits firmly within the tradition of Conceptual art associated with Joseph Kosuth and Lawrence Weiner. However, the extraordinary duration of Kawara's process-based projects - one of which, his date-painting series Today, lasted almost fifty years, producing almost 3,000 individual works - and the meditative consistency with which he applied himself to his tasks, sets his oeuvre apart, and links his work to his background in Buddhist and Shinto philosophy. By drawing attention to the minutiae of daily existence, Kawara's work focuses our attention on the most basic elements of our experience of the world: our location on the planet, and our passage through time.

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