I am Still Alive

On Kawara, the Japan-born conceptual artist who made his home in New York City for the past 50 years, has died. He was 81. A representative for David Zwirner, his gallery, confirmed the news of his passing.

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For the better part of a century, Kawara investigated the nature of time and played with the idea of identity in the face of death.

In 1970, he sent a series of telegrams to his friends that proclaimed, I am still alive. The simplicity of the message, coupled with the austerity of the medium, creates the ambivalent impression of a profound truth expressed in almost immaterial form.

During his life, the artist refused to give interviews or talk about his work.

A major retrospective of his work, Silence, is slated to open at Manhattan’s Guggenheim Museum in February 2015. The exhibition will be the first full representation of Kawara’s art, beginning in 1964 and including every category of work.

In his Today series Kawara created his signature “date paintings” all around the world, conforming to local dating conventions and languages based on his location.

 

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He began this series in 1966 and produced it throughout his career, he meticulously painted that day’s date on canvas. He worked without stencils and used the date-notation system for the country he happened to be working in. These works were generally paired with newspapers from the same day.

 

In deep mourning of all our friends who died in 2014 independent of their age: Jan Hoet, Wieland Schmied, Mehmet Gün, Michael Glawogger, Matthew Power

 

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