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(1936 – 2010), Japan

Arakawa Biography

enowned for his paintings, drawings, and prints, as well as his innovative architectural constructions, Arakawa 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. In 1962, Arakawa met 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 eighty canvases that explored the workings of human consciousness. 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 the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York in 1997. In the 1990s, Arakawa and Gins developed the theory of “procedural architecture” to further impact on human lives. Through architecture specifically, they endeavored to “learn how not to die.” Terming this concept “reversible destiny,” they believed firmly in the capacity of their architectural works to positively influence the personal well-being and longevity of those who lived within them. Arakawa and Gins dedicated the remainder of their lives to seeing these ideas integrated into architectural theory and contemporary building methods.

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Arakawa was born in 1936 in Nagoya, Japan, and died in 2010 in New York. He attended the Musashino Art University in Tokyo. Arakawa’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout North America, Western Europe and Japan. Major retrospectives include the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. His work is featured in institutional collections worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Karuizawa; and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, as well as in numerous private and corporate collections. Arakawa represented Japan in the 35th Biennale di Venezia in 1970, and was included in Documenta IV (1968) and Documenta VI (1977).

Arakawa Featured Artworks

Untitled (Webster's Dictionary A & B) by Arakawa contemporary artwork
ArakawaUntitled (Webster's Dictionary A & B), 1965Acrylic, graphite, and marker on canvas
167.6 x 241.3 cm
Gagosian Contact Gallery
Waiting Voices by Arakawa contemporary artwork
ArakawaWaiting Voices, 1976–1977Acrylic, graphite, marker, and varnish on canvas and linen
177.8 x 243.8 cm
Gagosian Contact Gallery
That In Which No. 2 by Arakawa contemporary artwork
ArakawaThat In Which No. 2, 1974–1975Acrylic, graphite, and marker on canvas
65 x 102 cm
Gagosian Contact Gallery
And/Or in Profile No. 2 by Arakawa contemporary artwork
ArakawaAnd/Or in Profile No. 2, 1974Acrylic, graphite, plastic rose, glass vase, wood, and builder’s level on canvas
196.8 x 271.8 cm
Gagosian Contact Gallery
Blank Lines or Topological Bathing by Arakawa contemporary artwork
ArakawaBlank Lines or Topological Bathing, 1980–1981Acrylic, graphite, and marker on canvas
100 x 272 cm
Gagosian Contact Gallery

Arakawa Current & Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Arakawa, Bottomless–1960s Paintings and Two Films– at SCAI The Bathhouse, Tokyo
Opening Soon
22 April–29 May 2021 Arakawa Bottomless–1960s Paintings and Two Films– SCAI The BathhouseTokyo
Contemporary art exhibition, Arakawa, Diagrams for the Imagination at Gagosian, 980 Madison Avenue, New York
5 March–13 April 2019 Arakawa Diagrams for the Imagination Gagosian980 Madison Avenue, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Invisible Cities: Architecture of Line at Waddington Custot, London
7 March–4 May 2018 Group Exhibition Invisible Cities: Architecture of Line Waddington CustotLondon

Arakawa Represented By

Gagosian contemporary art gallery in 980 Madison Avenue, New York, USA Gagosian New York, Athens, Beverly Hills, London, Paris, Le Bourget, Geneva, Basel, Rome, Hong Kong

Arakawa In Related Press

Losing Nothing: Arakawa and Madeline Gins Related Press Losing Nothing: Arakawa and Madeline Gins 1 November 2019, Gagosian Quarterly

The cover of the Artnews of May 1980 shows a smiling face, with superintelligent eyes, under a somewhat unruly crop of dark hair. In a black sweater covering a blue workman's shirt, collar just showing, the artist Arakawa, known only by his last name, points a pencil toward the viewer, his other hand pressing down on a messy stack of papers....

Fade out copy.
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