Gagosian is pleased to announce its representation of the artwork of Arakawa on behalf of the Estate of Madeline Gins and the Reversible Destiny Foundation, a foundation established by Arakawa and Gins.
Renowned for his paintings, drawings, and prints, as well as his innovative architectural constructions, Arakawa was one of the founding members of the Japanese avant-garde collective Neo Dadaism Organizers, and was one of the earliest practitioners of the international conceptual-art movement of the 1960s. After moving to New York from Japan in 1961, Arakawa produced diagrammatic paintings, drawings, and other conceptual works that employed systems of words and signs to both highlight and investigate the mechanics of human perception and knowledge. It was the aim of these works to direct a process of seeing through written instructions, wordplay, and labels which would result in a heightened understanding of the viewer’s perceptive faculties. Throughout the decades following, Arakawa continued to exhibit at museums and galleries extensively throughout North America, Western Europe and Japan with works that grew in scale and visual and intellectual complexity.
In 1962, Arakawa met the American poet Madeline Gins, with whom he developed a personal and creative partnership. Together they expanded Arakawa’s painting practice into an important series entitled The Mechanism of Meaning, a suite of 80 canvases that explored and further exposed the workings of human consciousness and “solving the problem of art.” The Mechanism of Meaning exists in two versions that were exhibited in their entirety by the Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Karuizawa in 1988 and by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York in 1997.
In the 1990s, Arakawa and Gins developed the theory of ‘procedural architecture’ to further its impact on human lives. Through architecture specifically, they endeavored to ‘learn how not to die,’ a concept that they termed ‘reversible destiny,’ believing firmly that the architectural works that they created would have an impact on the personal well-being and longevity of those who lived within them. Arakawa and Gins dedicated the remainder of their lives to seeing their ideas integrated into architectural theory and contemporary building methods.
In writing about their work, Michael Govan has cited its impact, saying that “in the short history of avant-garde art, no challenge and provocation by artists to viewers is so ambitious as Arakawa and Gins’s ‘learn how not to die.’ Reversible destiny challenges the definition of art itself, eschewing aesthetics for something that might be called ‘practice’—the practical implementation of philosophical ideas, and practice for living.”
Gagosian will work in close collaboration with the Estate of Madeline Gins and the Reversible Destiny Foundation to promote and exhibit Arakawa’s work. It is the aim of the gallery to reintroduce his extraordinary oeuvre to the international art world and to make known his remarkable artistic and philosophic contributions regarding the role of perception in art.
Arakawa (1936–2010) was born in Nagoya, Japan and attended the Musashino Art University in Tokyo. His work is featured in institutional collections world-wide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Karuizawa; and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, as well as in numerous private and corporate collections. His work is currently on view in the exhibition “Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery 1959–1971” at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. He represented Japan in XXXV Venice Biennale (1970) and was included in Documenta IV (1968 ) and Documenta VI (1977). His work has also been the focus of major retrospectives at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, and has been exhibited extensively throughout North America, Western Europe and Japan.
For further information please contact the gallery at [email protected] or at +1.212.744.2313. All images are subject to copyright. Gallery approval must be granted prior to reproduction.
Please join the conversation with Gagosian on Twitter (@Gagosian), Facebook (@GagosianGallery), Google+ (Gagosian Gallery), Tumblr (@GagosianGallery), Instagram (@GagosianGallery), and Artsy (@Gagosian-Gallery) via the hashtag #Arakawa.