Arakawa, Galerie Art in Progress, Munich, 1976

Starting the decade with a solo show at Musée National d’Art de Moderne de la Ville des Paris Arakawa also represented Japan in the XXXV Venice Biennale where he débuted a group of paintings from the Mechanism of Meaning alongside other of his works. The Mechanism of Meaning was then featured in a touring show of German museums that began at the Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt in 1971.

Visually the proposals that appeared as texts in his paintings became longer and more discursive, sometimes filling the canvas with stenciled letters in a range of different colors and treatments. Contrasting concepts were later introduced with the deployment of words such as: “cleave” a word whose definition both encompass the act of cutting and joining, and “blank” as a word that allows the opposing duality of absence and presence. Works became larger, often made up of multiple panels that challenged the fixed vantage point of the viewer. Vertical radiating forms began to dominate the work from the middle of the decade whose lines would slice across the surface of the canvas in contrast to representations of space such as house plans and grids creating complex visual and intellectual puzzles.

The 1970s saw the establishing of ongoing relationships with galleries such as Ronald Feldman, in New York, Yves Lambert in Paris and Takagi Gallery, Nagoya who continued to exhibit his work into the next decade along with Marian Goodman’s Multiples Inc who published his prints. In 1979 Japan celebrated Arakawa with three museum shows, a mid-career retrospective at The Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo: a survey of his prints at the Hyogo Perfectural Museum of Modern Art, and Arakawa: The Mechanism of Meaning at the National Museum of Art, Osaka.