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.

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