Artist: On Kawara
Exhibition title: ON KAWARA 1966
Venue: Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium
Curated by: Tommy Simoens
Date: March 29 – June 14, 2015
Photography: images courtesy of Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens
On Kawara (1933-2014) is widely considered one of the most important artists of the second half of the twentieth century. The exhibition at museum Dhondt-Dhaenens is focused on his works from 1966, a pivotal year in Kawara’s oeuvre, which saw the initiation of the Today series (1966-2013). Also referred to as the ‘date paintings’, these works document the date they were made, with each conforming to a predetermined size.
Although often recognized as a key figure within the European and American conceptual art movement, Kawara’s practice arguably reached beyond the strict limitations typically imposed by his peers. The rules underpinning his works were rigid, but due to their dependence on time, there was a high degree of unpredictability involved.
Central to the exhibition is a large selection of fifty-one paintings from the Today series from 1966, some of which have never been exhibited before. The paintings are shown together with thirty-five Journals, up to the year 2000, in which Kawara recorded the colours, titles, dates, and subtitles of the date paintings. The exhibition also includes a series of photographs showing a selection of paintings from the series, all from 1966, in the artist’s 13th Street studio in Manhattan, presumably taken at the end of that same year. These photographs offer a historical counterpoint to the presentation of the paintings in the Museum.
The One Hundred Years Calendar —20th Century “23,928 days” provides further insights into the Today series, showing the frequency with which Kawara executed the paintings over a given period.
This is the first institutional solo presentation in Belgium dedicated to the artist since the exhibition On Kawara, 1973 – One Year’s Production at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 1975. ON KAWARA 1966 at Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens opens while the large-scale retro-spective On Kawara – Silence at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York is still on view. Where the New York exhibition offers an extensive overview of the artist’s output over his lifetime, ON KAWARA 1966 focuses on one of the most crucial years in his oeuvre.
This exhibition is realized thanks to the generous support of David Zwirner, New York/London. Curator of the exhibition: Tommy Simoens.