Consciousness. Meditation. Watcher on the Hills

Le second volume de ce catalogue marque l’aboutissement d’une exposition itinérante, qui, pendant quatre ans, de Birmingham à Lima, en passant par le Consortium de Dijon, a fait le tour du monde, dans le sens des aiguilles d’une montre, reprenant la démarche spatio-temporelle menée par l’artiste japonais On Kawara depuis quarante ans.


On Kawara
Consciousness. Meditation. Watcher on the Hills

Ce catalogue clôture la tournée mondiale de l’exposition «Consciousness. Meditation. Watcher on the Hills», initiée par l’Ikon Gallery de Birmingham et Le Consortium de Dijon. Présentant les célèbres Date Paintings, les télégrammes et les livres de l’artiste japonais, cette exposition a été montrée au Royaume-Uni, en France, en Suisse, en Allemagne, en Autriche, au Japon, en Nouvelle Zélande, au Mexique, au Canada et au Pérou. Ce livre rassemble toute la documentation produite à l’occasion des expositions et présente les vues des installations.

Extraits de « Clockwise » de Jonathan Watkins (en anglais)

« Consciousness. Meditation. Watcher on the Hills » was a combination of works by On Kawara — an early drawing, Date Paintings, the One Million Years books and a batch of telegrams — devised by the artist himself. This is not to argue for it as a work of art, but certainly it was as deliberate as any of the artistic gestures Kawara has ever made, an idea finely tuned, waiting — on a shelf, literally, in a box file — for the right circumstances. Starting from Ikon Gallery, Birmingham UK, in late 2002, the exhibition circumnavigated the world, clockwise, during the next four years — through France, Switzerland, Germany, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada and Peru — thereby playing on the artist’s preoccupation with the passage of time. Each subsequent year on the tour was marked by the addition of another Date Painting. […]

« Consciousness. Meditation. Watcher on the Hills » was an exhibition of judicious choices, not a survey or a retrospective. It was an epitome. Sober, with not much colour, yet with a lightness of touch and an open-ness to the various contexts that made up its itinerary, it engendered a wealth of possible meanings. […]

The Date Paintings constitute not only the most memorable series of works by On Kawara, known as the Today Series, arguably they amount to one of the most important achievements in the history of art. Then again, not only do they refer to every artistic gesture ever made, through the artist’s choice of an all-too-familiar medium — paint on canvas — but also they evoke the essence of graffiti. By painting the date on which he painted a painting, he is asserting « I was here ». Ostensibly tautological, like our experience of the 100 Years Calendar, a Date Painting declares solely its date of production. If it is not finished by the end of the day, by midnight, it is destroyed. […]

Consciousness. Meditation. Watcher on the Hills embraced the world through circumnavigation and so alluded to On Kawara’s impulse to transcend national borders, to be a citizen of the world. The work in this exhibition, like all his work in fact, is either generic to the point of internationalism or bearing the trace of considerable international movement. »

On Kawara né en 1932 à Kariya au Japon, vit et travaille à New York. Associé à l’art conceptuel à partir du 4 janvier 1966 où est inaugurée la série des Date Paintings, son œuvre est basé sur une notion de temporalité abstraite, non historique.