Distraction Series 13 brings us to November. In the United States in 2020, this month has started out with the stress of the election in addition to rising numbers of Covid-19 across the country. Madeline Gins’s book What the President Will Say and Do!! (1984) captures this feeling, and moment in time, quite well. In addition to the first essays, which seem eerily prescient of the current events, later in the book Gins brings us a particularly useful text for how to approach or try to maneuver through these times: “How to Breathe”. In order to help us move through November and to celebrate Madeline’s birthday on November 7th, we present a brief discussion of this text.
In honor of Blindness Awareness Month, Distraction Series 12 focusses on Madeline Gins’s book Helen Keller or Arakawa (1994) and the influence that Helen Keller had on Arakawa and Gins’s architectural practice. While Helen Keller is an extremely well-known figure in both the United States and Japan, Gins’s in-depth meditation on Keller’s thought and experience goes well beyond the usual elementary school focus on Keller’s childhood and tutelage under Annie Sullivan. Gins incorporates direct quotes from Keller along with poetic imaginings of her experience of being both blind and deaf and employs these against a backdrop of Arakawa’s paintings in particular to probe the ways in which we experience the world as well as what it means to inhabit an architectural body.
For Distraction Series 11, we are delighted to share an interview Arakawa gave in Tokyo, 1997, at the NTT InterCommunication Center (ICC), available for the first time with English subtitles. In this roughly thirty-minute interview, Arakawa discusses what it means to him to think across two languages as well as the concept of the architectural body. He then waxes philosophical on human-made nature, civilization and architecture, and the relationship between computers and art. Conducted by Yukihiro Hirayoshi (professor of design and architecture at Kyoto Institute of Technology; formerly, curator at the National Museum of Art, Osaka), this interview not only provides insight into Arakawa’s approach to his work and his thoughts on a variety of related subjects, it also offers an interesting snapshot of the late 1990s from the point of a view of an artist.
Given the current limitations on travel, Distraction Series 10 is here to bring you on a round-the-world armchair vacation with Arakawa and Madeline. From Mesoamerican ruins in Tula, Mexico, to Italy, France, Japan, and various locations in New York state, join us as we travel through time and space from the point of view of our two founders.
For the ninth iteration of our Distraction Series, we have pulled a questionnaire from our archive that Madeline had her mother give to her Fifth-Grade class on January 20th, 1969, the day Richard Nixon was sworn in as President of the United States. Madeline’s questions focus in on thoughts – where do you feel them, from where do they come, where do they go, what are they made of? And she then has the children conduct a practical exercise (drawing a circle), before asking about their thoughts while carrying out this particular activity. Finally, the questionnaire asks the children to explain the difference between children and adults, state their most interesting thought, share their oldest memory, and come up with an interesting question to ask their teacher. An interesting thought exercise to try at home for adults and children alike!
For Distraction Series 8, we are very pleased to present a ten-minute excerpt of a two-hour lecture by curator Satoshi Yamada on a work by Arakawa entitled 35’ by 7’ 6” and 126 lbs. No. 2, 1967-68. This lecture was given on May 13th, 2012, at the Nagoya City Art Museum, where Mr. Yamada was curator at the time. NCAM houses sixteen works by Arakawa in its permanent collection, along with an additional five works on long-term loan from the Estate of Madeline Gins. As the museum is located in the artist’s hometown of Nagoya, NCAM has focused on developing a collection that covers a broad range of Arakawa’s artistic experiments: it spans from the sculptures of the late 1950s (his so-called ‘coffin’ series), to sketches revealing his thought-process, and finally to the large-scale paintings of the 1980s that anticipated his move toward architecture in collaboration with Madeline Gins.
In 1968, Arakawa produced a number of works that took his use of stenciled and written language in a more playful direction than we saw in the paintings included in documenta 4. In canvas and print form, he reproduced recipes for lamb stew, fried pork with sweet-sour sauce, banana cake, and coconut milk cake. For Distraction Series 7, we present you with our playful response to Sky No. 2, 1968, which involved baking the Coconut Milk Cake recipe as it is written in cursive over the surface of the canvas, up until we are left hanging with this final sentence: “To serve, fill between the layers with:”.
For Distraction Series 5, our Director, Momoyo Homma, leads us on a tour of the Reversible Destiny Lofts MITAKA – In Memory of Helen Keller, in Tokyo, Japan. We are very grateful to Nobu Yamaoka, the director of the two documentary films presented in Distraction Series 1 and 2, “Children Who Won’t Die” (2010) and “We” (2011), for filming this experience. Follow along as Momoyo guides us from the building entrance up to one of the lofts, where she walks us through how this unique living environment affords ample opportunity to stretch and move the body in new ways.
With the launch of The Saddest Thing Is That I Have Had to Use Words: A Madeline Gins Reader, we wanted to take the opportunity to share with everyone more of Madeline's poetry and other writings. For Distraction Series 4, we wanted to highlight Madeline Gins's Segue Series reading at Double Happiness, NYC, that took place roughly 19 years ago on May 19, 2001.
For the third iteration of our Distraction Series, we are pleased to share a full-length recording of the world premiere performance of Neon Dance's Puzzle Creature, which took place at Kamigo Clove Theatre during the Echigo-Tsumari Triennale, Niigata Prefecture, Japan, on September 15th, 2018. This immersive, multi-disciplinary dance work was inspired by the architecture and philosophy of Arakawa and Madeline Gins.
In this second installment of our Distraction Series, we are sharing Nobu Yamaoka’s documentary film, WE (2011), featuring Madeline Gins. This film follows Madeline from her studio at 124 West Houston Street to the Bioscleave House in East Hampton, NY, offering another opportunity to spend time with Arakawa+Gins’s reversible destiny architecture.
In these uncertain times, strength and solace can be found in belonging to a community and we wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for being a part of ours. At this time, we are all discovering new ways to access and explore art and its potential. As our contribution, the Reversible Destiny Foundation along with ARAKAWA+GINS Tokyo office is pleased to introduce our Distraction Series, a biweekly newsletter with links to a variety of A+G projects.
The Reversible Destiny Foundation is excited to announce the publication of The Saddest Thing Is That I Have Had to Use Words: A Madeline Gins Reader, edited by Lucy Ives and published by Siglio Press. The book officially launches on April 21st, 2020.
Reversible Destiny Foundation is pleased to announce the new publication Arakawa and Madeline Gins in the 22nd Century: The Body and the Experience in the Reversible Destiny Mode
This book explores the philosophy of Arakawa and Madeline Gins who set out to fight the human destiny of mortality. Ten years after the death of Arakawa (1936–2010) and six years after the death of Madeline Gins (1941–2014), this significant collection of texts rediscovers Arakawa and Gins’s thought, which still continues to inspire and thereby remains in progress.
life and limbs is the fourth exhibition in Swiss Institute’s Architecture and Design Series, curated by Austrian artist Anna-Sophie Berger. The exhibition includes works by Arakawa and Madeline Gins, among others from a variety of disciplines, movements and periods.
Considering corporeality as a primary concern for design, each work in the exhibition troubles the limits of what a body can consume, process, reach and become, from the metamorphosis that comes from wearing a garment to complete transfigurations into surreal, new beings.
Opening Reception: September 24, 6-8PM
Reversible Destiny Foundation is excited to announce "Puzzle Creature Island Encounter" by Neon Dance at the Setouchi Triennale 2019, an international contemporary arts festival held every three years across 12 ‘art islands’ in Japan. "Puzzle Creature" draws on the life and work of Arakawa and Madeline Gins and will be designed to be presented in both traditional and nontraditional performance spaces. Click here for ticket information.
The New York Times' T Magazine has published a new article about the work and life of Arakawa and Madeline Gins.
"Could Architecture Help You Live Forever?
For a pair of avant-garde artists, eternal life wasn’t just a dream — it was a possibility. As long, that is, as you were committed to an uncomfortable existence."
–T Magazine, August 20, 2019
The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan, will present the exhibition, Impossible Architecture, in collaboration with three other museums; Niigata City Art Museum, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, and the National Museum of Art, Osaka. The exhibition will travel through these four public museums in Japan from February 2019 until March 2020, and will be featuring several artworks by Arakawa and Madeline Gins, including a large-scale model of The Process in Question/Bridge of Reversible Destiny.
On view from February 2 – March 15, 2020
One of two experimental films directed by Arakawa, For Example (A Critique of Never), 1971, will be showing at the Emily Harvey Foundation on Sunday April 14, 2019 at 4pm.
The screening will be followed by a talk and Q&A with Andrew Lampert, an artist, archivist, and frequent writer on art and cinema.
Reversible Destiny Foundation and Christie's New York are pleased to present "Testing the Limits: Arakawa X Isamu Noguchi". This program invites Brett Littman, Director of the Isamu Noguchi Museum and Garden, in conversation with Miwako Tezuka, Consulting Curator of Arakawa and Madeline Gins’ Reversible Destiny Foundation, to discuss the artists Arakawa and Isamu Noguchi's kinship in genre-defying interests and activities.
It is our great pleasure to inform you that the exhibition Eternal Gradient is travelling to Graham Foundation in Chicago, opening on February 7th and on view until May 4th, 2019. There will be public programs during the exhibition period.
Tracing the emergence of architecture as a wellspring of creativity and theoretical exploration for the Arakawa and Madeline Gins, this exhibition features over 40 drawings and other archival materials that illuminate a pivotal moment within a practice that spanned nearly five decades of collaboration.
Reversible Destiny Foundation is pleased to announce that the International edition of the Documentary Films Childen Who Won't Die and We, directed by Nobu Yamaoka, is now available for purchase online.
The two documentary films explore in depth the life and works of Arakawa and Madeline Gins, including interviews with the artists, their friends, professionals from various disciplines as well as the residents of Arakawa+Gins's architectural works.
Reversible Destiny Foundation is pleased to announce the World Premier of "Puzzle Creature" by Neon Dance, to be held on September 15 & 16 at Kamigo Clove Theater as one of the highlights of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Japan 2018.
In this talk, Miwako Tezuka of Reversible Destiny Foundation, introduces selections of archival materials that illustrate ARAKAWA’s range of interests and examine how these materials influenced the core visual and conceptual language in his art.
Arakawa + Gins in The Future Starts Here at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom.
The exhibition will highlight "100 Projects shaping the world of tomorrow" - groundbreaking technologies and designs currently in development in studios and laboratories around the world. Visitors will be guided by a series of ethical and speculative questions to connect the subject matter to the choices that we all face in our everyday lives.
On view May 12 through November 4, 2018.
Reversible Destiny Foundation is pleased to present Shusaku Arakawa: Trans Japan, Cis Japan - an article by Dr. Shin-Ichi Fukuoka about the works of Arakawa and Madeline Gins. Originally published in Japanese in WINGSPAN February 2016 issue, pp. 80-6. Translated and republished here with permission from the author and ANA WINGSPAN - the monthly in-flight magazine from All Nippon Airways.
Columbia GSAPP's Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery presents an exhibition of architectural drawings, writings, and research by Arakawa and Madeline Gins.
Opening Reception: Friday, March 30, 6:30 – 8.30pm
A half-day conference on the occasion of the opening of the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery exhibition Arakawa and Madeline Gins: Eternal Gradient. The event convenes architects, artists, historians and writers to offer fresh interpretations of Arakawa and Gins’ work and theories in the context of contemporary practices and scholarship.
Waddington Custot is pleased to present Invisible Cities, curated by Flavia Frigeri. Taking its title from Italo Calvino’s novel, Le città invisibili, this exhibition brings together an international group of artists who, in different ways, explore concepts of the ideal city and discover the necessary coexistence of the real and the imagined. The exhibition includes drawing, painting and sculpture by Giorgio de Chirico, Fausto Melotti, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva, Gego, Arakawa, Giulio Paolini and Tomás Saraceno.
The Chrysler Museum of Art is pleased to announce Multiple Modernisms - an exhibition of modern and contemporary art that features the work by Arakawa, Untitled, 1963 (Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.). This reinstallation of the Chrysler Museum’s McKinnon Galleries highlights pieces in the Museum’s permanent collection through an examination of differing narratives about the history of modern and contemporary art. The exhibition shows similar approaches between artists, many who worked simultaneously or successively. It also explores contradictory ideas influenced by politics and socioeconomics.
The exhibition will be on view at the Norfolk, Virginia museum starting November 17, 2017.
Artist John Walter curates the new Hayward Touring exhibition Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness, opening at the MAC in Belfast before embarking on a national tour to Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) and Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre. The exhibition aims to explore the nature of visual awkwardness through the work of artists and architects Arakawa and Gins; Cosima von Bonin; Niki de Saint Phalle; Benedict Drew; Justin Favela; Duggie Fields; Louise Fishman; Friedensreich Hundertwasser; Kate Lepper; Andrew Logan; Plastique Fantastique; Jacolby Satterwhite; Tim Spooner and John Walter.
Join Reversible Destiny Foundation and Dillon + Lee in the film screening of Arakawa's Why Not (A Serenade of Eschatological Ecology) (1969) at Williamsburg's National Sawdust. Why Not is a surrealistic exploration, by a young female protagonist, of both her psychological and physical realms, shot entirely within an enclosed space of an apartment (Arakawa's studio). The screening is a rare opportunity to see Arakawa's experimental film in full, in the backdrop of the innovative venue of National Sawdust.
Puzzle Creature by Neon Dance draws on the life and work of Arakawa and Madeline Gins and will be designed to be presented in both traditional and nontraditional performance spaces. Due to premiere in 2018.
The Reversible Destiny Foundation and Gagosian are pleased to announce the exhibition of six paintings by Arakawa.
The exhibition will be on view from May 2 through May 26th, 2017 at the Gagosian gallery at 555 West 24th Street, New York.
The Reversible Destiny Foundation is pleased to announce the partnership with Gagosian Gallery, as featured in ARTnews.
“It has been anthologized in museum collections and exhibitions,” Gagosian Gallery director Ealan Wingate told ARTnews of Arakawa’s work, “but our current time has not kept up with it.”
Arakawa’s 2-D artworks will be the primary focus of the Gagosian collaboration. Chief among them is The Mechanism of Meaning (1963-1973), an 80-panel painting series that exists in two different versions, one at the Sezon Museum of Modern Art in Japan and the other in the holdings of the foundation. Reversible Destiny also has desires to bring out past writings and more eclectic work.
“Now we are looking at marvelous generations of artists who feel free to explore different ways of communicating through words, line, color, form, diagrams. It’s interesting to go back to a forerunner.”
The first major exhibition to explore the storied history of the groundbreaking mid-20th-century Dwan Gallery will premiere at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, from September 30, 2016, through January 29, 2017. Honoring Virginia Dwan's gift from her extraordinary personal collection to the National Gallery of Art, Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971 will be on view in Concourse galleries of the newly renovated East Building. The exhibition traces Dwan's remarkable career as a gallerist and patron through some 100 works drawn from her collection as well as from museums and private collections. The exhibition includes Arakawa's Untitled, "Stolen", 1969, collection of Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford.
The exhibition travels to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where it will be on view from March 19 through September 10, 2017.
Reversible Destiny Foundation and Triple Canopy are pleased to present a screening of Children Who Won’t Die (2010). Directed by Nobu Yamaoka and scored by composer Keiichiro Shibuya, the documentary is a meditation on the work of Japanese artist Arakawa and his efforts, with his wife and creative partner Madeline Gins, to “reverse destiny” and free humanity from the necessity of death.
Children Who Won’t Die is part of Triple Canopy’s Vanitas issue, which explores contemporary meditations on mortality as well as the delights, delusions, and pressures of fleshly existence. The issue will also include an essay on the anti-death architecture of Arakawa and Gins by Triple Canopy senior editor Matthew Shen Goodman and Lucy Ives. The film is in Japanese with English subtitles, and will be introduced by Shen Goodman.
In collaboration with Asia Contemporary Art Week and hosted by Artnet, this event launches Reversible Destiny Foundation’s series of public programs.
The panel discussion Points of Convergence invited distinguished speakers who brought to the table distinct perspectives into the art and philosophy of Arakawa and how they may be contextualized within the international art of 1960s - 1970s. The panelists were Dr. Reiko Tomii, Naoto Nakagawa, and Dr. Charles Haxthausen. The program was moderated by Dr. Miwako Tezuka, Consulting Curator of Reversible Destiny Foundation.
Organized by gallery ART UNLIMITED, ARAKAWA + GINS Tokyo Office (Coordinologist, Inc.)
in Cooperation with The Institute of Oriental and Occidental Studies – KANSAI UNIVERSITY / Reversible Destiny Foundation
At Frieze Masters, 2016, Eykyn Maclean presented The Eye of Arturo Schwarz, an homage to the legendary gallerist and the eponymous Galleria Schwarz, which operated in Milan from 1954-1975. The gallery became a cultural centre in Milan, as Schwarz not only introduced Italy to the avant-garde art of Dada and Surrealism, but also discovered, promoted, and exhibited emerging artists such as Tano Festa, Enrico Baj, and Shusaku Arakawa.
2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Dada movement and the 50th anniversary of Schwarz's seminal exhibition of the same theme.