Lot 236
  • 236

On Kawara

100,000 - 150,000 GBP
313,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • On Kawara
  • Jan. 14, 2011
  • signed on the reverse
  • liquitex on canvas with newspaper clippings in handmade cardboard box


Donated by the artist

Catalogue Note

On Kawara’s Date Paintings have become icons of our time, instantly recognisable as objects of great historical significance. The vibrant, glowing red background of the current lot makes the gleaming letters and numerals seem to leap out of the canvas towards the viewer, instantly setting in train a thought process which culminates in the onlooker seeking to remember and visualise their own actions on that particular day. As such, Jan.14, 2011evokes a uniquely personal response in each and every viewer.

Although On Kawara began work on the Date Paintings in the mid-1960s, the method of their creation has remained remarkably consistent. The artist applies four coats of paint to the canvas ground, which can range in size from 20.5 by 25.4cm to 155 by 226cm. The edges of the text are then painstakingly drawn in by means of a ruler and set square, then filled in with layers of white paint. The date is written in the manner of whichever country On Kawara happens to be in on that particular day, hence the series functions as a form of personal diary and travelogue for the artist. Should the painting be unfinished by midnight it is destroyed rather than altering the pure truth of the date itself. The process is completed by storing the canvas within a handmade cardboard box, accompanied by local newspaper clippings from the same date; each Date Painting is therefore irrevocably placed within its social and historical context and correspondingly imbued with the mood of the surrounding environment. Jan.14, 2011 thus stands as an exceptional emblem of calm and continuity amidst the turmoil of an ever changing world.