Jonathan Watkins On Kawara: Eternal Return

ISBN 13: 9781904864226

On Kawara: Eternal Return

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9781904864226: On Kawara: Eternal Return
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Japanese-born, New-York-based On Kawara (b.1933) is one of the world's best-known Conceptual artists, a major international figure since the 1960s. Kawara's existence is documented solely through his daily art-making practice. Best known are his Date Paintings (1965-ongoing), in which he methodically creates a single painting a day, with simply the date written on it.

This book is a rare chance for his followers to unravel more of the mystery of this cult figure, and for less familiar readers to be introduced to his fascinating life and work. A unique feature of this book is the Tribute section, which reflects the artist's lifelong commitment never to be personally documented in his own words. A collection of short statements by 30 individuals selected personally by Kawara - among them artists Lawrence Weiner and Dan Graham, and cultural theorist Homi Bhabha - create an indirect 'portrait of the artist'.

In the Survey, Curator Jonathan examines the artist's long-standing career: from his early figurative painting in the 1950s, to his later, text-based Conceptual art. Curator René Denizot analyses in his Focus a two-person exhibition combining Kawara's work with Alberto Giacometti's, revealing both artists' shared concern for the essence of human existence. The artist's interest in the nature of consciousness is reflected in a scientific essay he has selected for his Artist's Choice from the academic Journal of Consciousness Studies. In the Artist's Writings, a series of handwritten love letters in an indecipherable code reflect the mix of the impersonal and the deeply humanistic threads that run through Kawara's art.

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Review:

'The boldest, best executed, and most far-reaching publishing project devoted to contemporary art. These books will revolutionize the way contemporary art is presented and written about.' (Artforum)

'The combination of intelligent analysis, personal insight, useful facts and plentiful pictures is a superb format; invaluable for specialists but also interesting for casual readers, it makes these books a must for the library of anyone who cares about contemporary art.' (Time Out)

'A unique series of informative monographs on individual artists.' (The Sunday Times)

'Gives the reader the impression of a personal encounter with the artists. Apart from the writing which is lucid and illuminating, it is undoubtedly the wealth of lavish illustrations which makes looking at these books a satisfying entertainment.' (The Art Book)

Synopsis:

This work includes text by Jonathan Watkins. "Eternal Return" accompanies an exhibition of Date Paintings by the US/Japanese conceptual artist On Kawara at the Ikon gallery, Birmingham. The selection of Date Paintings for Eternal Return was first made for Consciousness, Meditation, Watcher on the Hills; a solo exhibition of a wider range of work by On Kawara that Ikon held in 2002, and which subsequently toured internationally in a clock-wise direction until spring 2006. The Date Paintings are part of his "Today Series", an ongoing project begun in 1966, each made in a day, bearing the inscribed date on which they were made. The Date Paintings exhibited here cover one Sunday from each year since the inception of the "Today Series", thus conveying the idea, ironically, of On Kawara as a "Sunday Painter". Each year another Sunday Date Painting was added to this exhibition. The original selection of 38 Date Paintings will be installed at Ikon in exactly the same way they were four years ago, with the addition of the extra four, dating from 2003 - 2006. This small publication explores the evolution of this exhibition with an essay by Director Jonathan Watkins. The exhibition Eternal Return will run from 26th July - 17th September 2006 at Ikon Gallery.

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Jonathan Watkins
Published by Ikon Gallery Ltd (2006)
ISBN 10: 1904864228 ISBN 13: 9781904864226
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