art + muse + anomaly


On Kawara - Date Paintings

"For over four decades, On Kawara has created paintings, drawings, books, and recordings that examine chronological time and its function as a measure of human existence.

The artist began making his now signature Date Paintings in 1966 in New York City, and continues to make them in different parts of the world.

Following the same basic procedure and format, each of these works is carefully executed by hand with the date documented in the language and grammatical conventions of the country in which it is made.

The artist has created a version of the sans serif typeface, which he uses to meticulously paint the letters and numbers in white on a monochrome surface. Each painting, when not on display, is encased in a cardboard box handmade by the artist.

On certain days, a newspaper clipping from the city in which the painting is executed is selected and used to line the interior of the box.

The particular syntax with which any given date is recorded evokes specific locations and subtly reflects the regional differences that exist despite the universality of time.

With works on display from over a hundred cities in more than thirty countries, the grammar of the paintings emerges as a code to be deciphered.”


Ane Graff

1. A Plain Rotunda

2. Sapphire Hands

3. Go Back In / The Fifth Plague

4. The Tearing Apart and Piecing Together