On Kawara was born in Kariya, Japan on 24 December 1932. For more than fifty years, he has explored the relationship between history, the passage of time and its impact on human existence, through a rigorous and radical artistic practice. On 4 January 1966, he began ‘Today’, a series of paintings that he continued to create until his death on 20 July 2014. A date, meticulously painted by hand appears on a monochrome canva: it marks the day on which On Kawara created the work. Each canvas is accompanied by a newspaper article that reveals the place the canvas was painted. The artist usually worked at night and if the painting was not completed the day he began it, he would destroy it. Among the most important conceptial artists of recent times, through his meticulous and obsessive practice, On Kawara attempted to appropriate the essence of time in order to redefine the very concept of eternity.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York has dedicated a major retrospective to On Kawara in 2015. His work is present in the most important collections in the works, including those of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Parsi, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Tate Galler, London. One of his works is shown at Punta della Dogana in the exhibition “Accrochage” (2016).