Tuesday, August 27, 2013

project room: Three

Three (est. 2009), an anonymous artist collective from Fukushima Prefecture stayed in New York for the month of July as the first invitees to Japan Society's Summer Artist Residency Program. 

Hailing from Fukushima, the artists were direct victims of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear fallout. In fact, their latest work “Tokyo Electric” was created for the 2nd anniversary of the earthquake. The imposing cubic structure stands over 3 meters high and is built to the same scale of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, explains the artists. It was made from 151,503 soy sauce containers – a number that happens to represent the number of displaced citizens.

Multiplicity is a common element in Three’s work. And their medium of choice – often objects that are cheaply mass-produced – is a reminder of our increasingly inorganic society and the death of the individual. Numerology is equally important element and so during the month-long stay Three created 555 works using 500 Japanese comic and anime plastic figures and 55 of their American counterparts taking cue from the number five in homage to five boroughs of New York.

Friday, August 2, 2013

collection of painted days

On Kawara studio
On Kawara is interested in time - its days, years, centuries, and eons. Each Date painting of his Today Series, the magnum opus that he begun in 1966, is a monochrome field on which is written the date of the day on which the painting was executed, in the language and according to the calendar of the country Kawara was in at the time. If he does not complete a painting by midnight, he destroys it. Some days he makes two paintings, very occasionally, he makes three, but most days he makes none.

Every painting in the series conforms to one of eight sizes, all horizontal in orientation, ranging from eight by ten inches to sixty-one by eighty-nine inches. And for every painting the artist mixes the color afresh, so that the chroma of each is unique. Tonalities in the brown-gray and blue-black range have dominated in recent years. four of five coats of acrylic are evenly applied to the canvas, creating a dense matte surface, onto which letters, numbers, and punctuation marks are then built up by hand, rather than aid of stencils. Initially he used an elongated Gill Sans typeface, later a quintessentially modernist Futura.

Each painting is stored in a handmade cardboard box with a clipping from a newspaper published in the same city and on the same day that the painting was made. (Kawara has exhibited the works both with and without the boxes.) A constant traveler, Kawara has created date paintings in over 112 cities worldwide, in the project that will end only with his death.