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Shusaku Arakawa (1936-2010) was born in Nagoya, Japan and attended the Musashino Art University in Tokyo. Renowned for his paintings, drawings, and prints, as well as his visionary architectural constructions, Arakawa, was one of the founding members of the Japanese avant-garde collective Neo Dadaism Organizers and 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. Throughout the following decades Arakawa continued to exhibit at museums and galleries extensively throughout North America, Western Europe and Japan with works that grew in scale and visual and intellectual complexity. linklinklink

Books Books: Madeline Gins

The Saddest Thing Is That I Have Had to Use Words: A MADELINE GINS READER

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.

“For anyone who wants to experience directly the uncharted regions of inner and outer space in which language, perception, thought, and image play freely with our cramped expectations of them, the Madeline Gins Reader is an indispensable guide and a startling discovery.” 

The Saddest Thing Is That I Have Had to Use Words: A Madeline Gins Reader is a revelatory anthology, edited and with an introduction by the writer and critic Lucy Ives. It brings never-before-published poems and essays together with a complete facsimile reproduction of Gins’s 1969 masterpiece, WORD RAIN (or A Discursive Introduction to the Intimate Philosophical Investigations of G,R,E,T,A, G,A,R,B,O, It Says), along with substantial excerpts from her two later books What the President Will Say and Do!! (1984) and Helen Keller or Arakawa (1994). Long out of print or unpublished, Gins’s poems and prose form a powerful corpus of experimental literature, one which is sure to upend existing narratives of American poetics at the close of the twentieth century.

Pre-order before April 1st and use our exclusive discount code, WORDRAIN, to receive 25% off:

“Madeline Gins was marooned here, on Earth, and made the best of it, using what was available to her, like words. This book is a splendid testament to how far she pushed them, and us, to realize what she already knew. That this, all this, is not it. Not. Even. Close.”

“Gins was a foundational figure. Her work was original and yet also deeply indicative of the transformative activities of conceptualism that performed a tectonic shift in art-making beginning in the late 1960s. These brilliant essays, the incredible novel/artist’s book WORD RAIN, the poems, projects, and thoughts have all been scattered, unavailable, or out of print. Ives frames the collection articulately, giving us a vivid sense of the period in which Gins began and developed her remarkable body of work. This is a welcome publication that will renew our appreciation of Gins’s intellect and wit.” 


For more information please visit:

Programs Recent Exhibitions

Shonky: the Aesthetics of Awkwardness

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. 

Shonky is a slang term meaning corrupt or bent, shoddy or unreliable, standing here for a particular type of visual aesthetic that is hand-made, deliberately clumsy and lo-fi, against the slick production values of much contemporary art. The exhibition proposes a more celebratory definition of ‘shonkiness’ and showing how it can be used for critical purposes in the visual arts to explore issues including gender, identity, beauty and the body. By drawing together artists and architects whose work has not previously been exhibited together or discussed within the same context, Shonky will allow for new ways of thinking that privilege shonkiness over other aesthetic forms that have dominated recent visual culture. 

In a series of conceptual rooms, Shonky explores this aesthetic across a range of media including paintings, sculpture, video, architecture and performance. These are shown alongside the architectural model and drawings of Inflected Arcade House by experimental architectural duo Arakawa and Gins​, ​who believed that their unusually designed houses with features such as sloping floors, curiously shaped rooms and functionless doors could have life-extending effects on their residents. 

The exhibition is accompanied by a new illustrated catalogue, featuring an essay by John Walter and a contribution by Zoë Strachan & Louise Welsh.


Tour details:

The MAC, Belfast, October 20, 2017 – January 14, 2018

Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, March 10 – May 27, 2018

Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Centre, Bury, June 23 – September 15, 2018


For more information:

Events Programs

Encounters with Arakawa and Madeline Gins

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.

Time: 1PM

Date: Friday March 30, 2018

Wood Auditorium
Avery Hall
Columbia University
1172 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027

For more information please visit:


Among the conference participants are:

Amale Andraos, Dean of Columbia GSAPP and co-founder of WORKac;
Adrienne Hart, Artistic Director/Choreographer of Neon Dance (London), who is developing a new dance piece that draws on the life and work of Arakawa and Gins;
Momoyo Homma (Tokyo), Director Arakawa + Gins Tokyo Office (Coordinologist, Inc.);
Lucy Ives (New York), an author who is currently editing a collection of writings by Gins;
Andrés Jaque (Madrid/New York), founder of Office for Political Innovation;
Ed Keller (New York), Assoc Prof of Design Strategies & Director of the Center for Tranformative Media, Parsons The New School for Design;
Thomas Kelley and Carrie Norman (Chicago/New York), founders of architectural and design office Norman Kelley and exhibition designers of Arakawa and Madeline Gins: Eternal Gradient;
Léopold Lambert (Paris), The Funambulist editor and architect, who has written extensively on Arakawa and Gins’ partnership and worked closely with Gins in her later years;
Spyros Papapetros (New York), Associate Professor, History and Theory of Architecture, Princeton University;
Julian Rose (New York), formlessfinder;
Jenna Sutela (Berlin), Visual Artist;
Miwako Tezuka (New York), art historian who is Consulting Curator at Reversible Destiny Foundation/Estate of Madeline Gins;
Troy Conrad Therrien (New York), Curator, Architecture and Digital Initiatives, Guggenheim Museum


Organized by Columbia GSAPP Exhibitions.
Free and open to the public.


The exhibition Arakawa and Madeline Gins: Eternal Gradient is on view from March 30 – June 16 2018 at Columbia GSAPP’s Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery.

Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12 – 6pm

Portrait of Arakawa and Madeline Gins, Office 124 West Houston Street, New York, 2000, photographed by Dimitris Yeros
Programs Recent Exhibitions

Invisible Cities: Architecture of Line

Study for Blank No.2, 1981. © 2018 Estate of Madeline Gins. Reproduced with permission of the Estate of Madeline Gins. Photograph: Nicholas Knight

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 ChiricoFausto MelottiMaria Helena Vieira da SilvaGegoArakawaGiulio Paolini and Tomás Saraceno.

Calvino’s Le città invisibili, published in 1972, imagines a fictional conversation between the Venetian explorer, Marco Polo, and Kublai Khan, the 13th century ruler of the Mongol Empire. Polo describes a series of wondrous cities which are geographically unspecific, yet imbued with glimpses of reality.

In the exhibition, the closest literal reference to a city is found in the ‘metaphysical’ cityscapes of Giorgio de Chirico (b. 1888, Volos, Greece; d. 1978, Rome, Italy). Calvino described de Chirico’s dream-like setting as a ‘city of the mind’; the steep perspective of an Italianate portico becomes surreal, surrounded by awkward shadows and melancholic skies.

Alternately, the lyrical, metal sculptures of Fausto Melotti (b. 1901, Rovereto, Italy; d. 1986, Milan, Italy) embodied, for Calvino, his most abstract cities. Calvino met Melotti while writing Le città invisibili and Melotti’s sculpture became central to Calvino’s description of his ‘thin city’. The writer saw in these sculptures the stripped back, essential core of modernist architecture. In Calvino’s words, Melotti’s sculptures realised what a utopian city could be: ‘cities on stilts, spider web cities’. The artist was presented with a copy of Invisible Cities, inscribed by the author, ‘For Fausto Melotti, the thin cities and all the others in this book, which [are] also yours….’

In the paintings of Maria Helena Vieira da Silva (b. 1908, Lisbon, Portugal; d. 1992, Paris, France) the physical architecture of the cityscape is splintered. She used ‘floating’ lines to draught architectural skeletons and achieved a profound illusion of space. She noted, ‘I want to paint what is not there as though it existed.’ As Polo recalled cities from memory, so Vieira da Silva’s imagined structures and landscapes were constantly shifting, as distant recollections.

Gego (b. 1912, Hamburg, Germany; d. 1994, Caracas, Venezuela), in a series of Drawings without Paper, ‘liberated’ line from the constraints of two-dimensions. Her drawings describe true volume and space. Gego trained and worked as an architect, but her sculpture went beyond prescribed ideas of structure and the urban to more ethereal and abstract forms, linear environments hanging in space.

Structure described through a reduction to the essential line is central to Calvino’s thought and this exhibition. Of the work of Arakawa (b. 1936, Nagoya, Japan; d. 2010, New York City, USA), Calvino wrote, ‘…lines belong to bundles of lines which may have a common point of departure or else may converge in a point, in which case they create perspectives.’ Maps, floorplans, and diagrams of three- dimensional structures feature prominently in Arakawa’s painting from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s. Then, working with poet and philosopher Madeline Gins, he redirected his energies to ‘reversible destiny architecture’, a term coined by them to describe an idealistic, utopian architecture. Arakawa’s drawings in this exhibition are from his transitional period, when he was beginning to think about the potential of architecture.

Giulio Paolini (b. 1940, Genoa, Italy) and Calvino maintained a close relationship. The two were united by a common interest in the space of the mind and its representation. While Calvino approached it from a narrative perspective Paolini questioned it visually. Their exchange was premised on conceptual grounds and it brought to the fore how space could be envisioned and mapped. In this exhibition the notion of mental space will be explored in connection with the idea of imagined city.

Calvino’s ‘spider web’ city swings over an abyss, tied with ropes to two mountain tops, its precarious situation opposing gravity. Parallels can be drawn with Tomás Saraceno’s (b. 1973, San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina) prototypes for floating cities. His hanging sculptures, including ‘IC 4970/M+W’ (2016) in the exhibition, are part of his long-term research project, Cloud Cities, which aims to develop a ‘modular and transnational city in the clouds’ that represents a model for sustainable and emancipatory building practices.

Flavia Frigeri is an Art Historian and Curator, currently Teaching Fellow in the History of Art department at University College London. Previously she served as a Curator, International Art (2014–16) and Assistant Curator (2011–14) at Tate Modern, where she worked on exhibitions, acquisitions and permanent collection displays. She co-curated (with Jessica Morgan) The World Goes Pop, a reassessment of pop art from a global perspective. Previous projects include Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, Paul Klee: Making Visible and Ruins in Reverse. From 2010 to 2011 she was the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation’s Hilla Rebay International Fellow. She has written widely on: Post-war Italian Art, Pop Art, exhibition histories and contemporary art.

Waddington Custot, 11 Cork Street, London W1S 3LT
Dates: 7 March–4 May 2018
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 10am to 6pm Saturday: 10am to 4pm

For more information please visit:

Programs Recent Exhibitions

Multiple Modernisms

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. “Multiple Modernisms takes as its thesis that art history is messy. It is not one art practice progressing into another in a clear, straight manner. Instead, artists had different theories about what modern and contemporary was, what art should present to society and what impacts it could have. The exhibition also emphasizes that certain trends in art practice, such as representing the body or abstraction, were repeated in various manners throughout the 20th and 21st centuries,” said Kimberli Gant, Chrysler Museum’s McKinnon Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art.

Multiple Modernisms pairs internationally renowned artists like Jackson Pollock and Georgia O’Keeffe with those of local or regional acclaim like Norfolk artist Vic Pickett. The exhibition also showcases work by female artists, artists of color and artists from other countries. “I wanted this presentation to show the breadth and depth of the Museum’s collection. It was important to show there are alternate narratives to the history of contemporary art because not all artists or genres were or are embraced within the canon. Art history is fluid and constantly being revised. I want to highlight that,” said Gant.

Multiple Modernisms is guided by six themes including Sculpted Figures, The Gesture, Invoking Geometry, Refined Dynamism, Layered Perspectives and (Hyper) Reality. Sculpted Figures features three-dimensional interpretations of the human body. The Gesture presents works that emphasize the artist’s expressive mark on the canvas. In Invoking Geometry, viewers see images of shapes and patterns. Refined Dynamism focuses on works about movement within a restrained color palette, while Layered Perspectives presents artistic interpretations of major events, symbols, mythology and society.  (Hyper) Reality includes works presenting an extreme version of reality. “In organizing the exhibition by themes, viewers will see how artists were influenced by each other, created similar or conflicting perspectives on the same event and experimented with the same techniques or ideas across time and geography,” said Gant.

The modern and contemporary art exhibition opens November 16 at 6 p.m. with a 1960s-themed reception. The opening reception is free for members, $5 for all others.

For more information please visit:

Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976), Totem, ca. 1970. Painted metal Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., 71.784 ©Alexander Calder Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Events Programs

Why Not (A Serenade of Eschatological Ecology)

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.

Renowned for his paintings, drawings, prints, and visionary architectural constructions, Arakawa was one of the earliest practitioners of the international Conceptual Art movement of the 1960’s. His wide range of experimentation extended into
filmmaking. 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 it in full, in the backdrop of the innovative venue of National Sawdust.  The program is introduced by Miwako Tezuka, Consulting Curator of the Reversible Destiny Foundation and Diana Lee, partner of Dillon + Lee, and followed by a post-screening discussion and Q&A with Peter Katz, the Foundation’s Executive Director and Jay Sanders, Artists Space Executive Director and Chief Curator. 

Monday October 16, 7:00pm

National Sawdust
80 N 6th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249

For tickets visit:

Film written and directed by Arakawa
Narration: Madeline Gins
Cast: Mary Window
Music: Toshi Ichiyanagi 

110 minutes, 1969

7:00pm | Screening of Why Not (A Serenade of Eschatological Ecology) 
9:00pm | Discussion & Q&A

Program Participants:

Peter Katz has led the Reversible Destiny Foundation
as Executive Director since 2015. He was previously the Chief Operating Officer at MoMA PS1 from 2011 to 2014 and also worked at the Neue Galerie, MoMA, and the Guggenheim in their finance and administration departments. 

Diana Seo Hyung Lee is a New York City based writer, translator, and partner of Dillon + Lee. Her writing and translations have appeared in Flash Art, The Brooklyn
Rail, ArtSlant, Degree Critical Blog,ArtAsiaPacific, Seaweed Journal, and The Forgetory, an online publication she helped start, where she currently serves as a contributing editor.

Jay Sanders is Director & Chief Curator of Artists Space in New York City. From 2012–2017 he was the Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance at the Whitney Museum of American Art. His recent exhibition Calder: Hypermobility is on view at the Whitney through October 23, 2017.
Miwako Tezuka is Consulting Curator of the Reversible Destiny Foundation since 2015. Formerly, she was Japan Society Gallery Director (2012–15) and Curator of Contemporary Art at Asia Society in New York (2005–12).
Dr. Tezuka is also Co-Director of PoNJA-GenKon, an international network of scholars and curators in the field of post-1945 Japanese art.

Click here to read article from Whitehot Magazine

Books Books: Arakawa

荒川修作+小林康夫 対話集『幽霊の真理 絶対自由に向かうために』

Author:Shusaku Arakawa, Yasuo Kobayashi

Books Books: Arakawa and Gins

Making Dying Illegal

“Arakawa and Gins’ Making Dying Illegal is, like all great satire, a serious contribution to a serious problem—a problem that so far each of us has had to face for him-or herself, namely that of stopping being. Who but this singular collaborative pair has risen to the occasion of addressing death as a misdemeanor, if not a felony, on the part of the one who has died? For the first time death is treated not as a certainty of a necessity, but as an option it should be illegal to exercise. The book joins, if it does not constitute, the exiguous library of thanatosophical masterpieces. Its aim, of course, is not literary. It is corollary to the authors’ audacious imperative to take destiny in hand and reverse it.”

—Arthur Danto

  • English edition:
    Paperback: 224 pages
    Publisher: Roof Books, New York, 2006
    ISBN-13: 978-1931824224

  • Japanese edition:
    Paperback: 224 pages
    Publisher: Shunjusha, Tokyo, 2007
    ISBN-13: 978-4-393-33273-3

Books Books: Arakawa and Gins

Architectural Body

This manifesto is a verbal articulation of the authors’ visionary theory of how the human body, architecture, and creativity define and sustain one another.

“If architecture is as guilty as philosophy in neglecting the body, or even of reinforcing the notion that the body is the soul’s tomb or prison, Arakawa and Gins feel that a more complex or challenging encounter with our increasingly artificial environment – one that bends perception back on itself and casts the percipient organism as the real work of art – will reveal how the body is the only site where dreams of freedom and immortality may become palpable. Their Frankensteinian will to outmaneuver death (in a project dubbed Reversible Destiny) may make some uneasy, but in an age of murderousness and defeatism their work enjoins no less than a sublime respect for life. Under the aegis of poetry, their latest book is the fruit of decades of research into the architectural poetics of percep- tion and is acompelling argument for the reality of a phantom-like species named the architectural body (“architectural surround + body proper”). Assuming that the world rising up around us is formative of the subject, this body would be a changeable shell, rather a matrix, of “landing-site” stimuli – whether tactile, visual, aural, kinesthetic, proprioceptive, or otherwise. Theirs is an ecology of sensation(s) instead of a chaotic heap of perceptions. Having already proposed numerous experimental sites (assembled from multi-labyrinths and sloping terrains designed to unsettle habitual sensorimotor behavior and push the body up against itself), this book launches their hypothesis of a “procedural architecture,” one that will not only render the architectural body traceable, but ultimately reconfigurable.”

—Joel Robinson, Ouvrages Théoriques Essays, Parachute 110

  • English edition:
    Hardback: 108 pages
    Paperback: 106 pages
    Publisher: University Alabama Press, 2002
    ISBN 0-8173-1168-8 (Hardback)
    ISBN: 978-0817311698 (Paperback)

  • Japanese edition:
    Paperback:186 pages
    Publisher:  Shunjūsha, 2004
    ISBN: 4-393-95503-X

  • French edition:
    Paperback: 140 pages
    Publisher: Editions Manucius, Houilles, 2005
    ISBN: 2-84578-049-4

Books Books: Arakawa


Author:Shusaku Arakawa、Hiromi Fujii





Books Books: Madeline Gins

Helen Keller or Arakawa

Helen Keller or Arakawa gives rise to a new form of “speculative” fiction, conveying the potential for human experience now and here rather than depicting worlds distant in space or time. The novel tracks consciousness and identity through the intermingling paths of its three protagonists: the historical person Helen Keller; the iconoclastic artist Arakawa; and the writer herself, Madeline Gins. At the same time, this innovative work advances and upsets key tenets of contemporary critical theory.

The book takes off from Helen Keller’s evocative journal entries, exemplifying a unique female intelligence in concert with recognizable masculine varieties. On the deck of an ocean liner, Helen and Niels Bohr discuss color, olfaction, and the compulsion inside protoplasm, speaking with their hands. The shinnyu episode offers a discursive look at the Japanese mark that in its origin denotes both “going” and “pausing.” One chapter thickly examines the disappearing phoneme “th” leading through feathers to birds – with an addendum on the vocabulary of the Scots. The novel is peopled with unlikely characters. Voluntar, the size of a dot (“found lounging in the figurative, sword in hand”) travels in an instant from zero to top speed. In Critical Beach, the terrain itself comes alive, as a critically active sensibility, to help devise new modes of perceiving.

Gins says: “When Helen Keller tries to explain the world, she often ends up describing an Arakawa painting.” The novel narrates how the artist utilizes visual abstraction to outline forms of the world that otherwise remain hidden. Helen Keller does it with her body, aided by an incisive verbal intelligence and boundless curiosity. Throughout the unfolding, Gins pilots a kind of “mute” speech – natural and sensual, intensely pleasurable – which subsumes great heuristic constructions in its wake.

  • English edition:
    Hardcover: 314 pages
    Publisher: Burning Books, 1994
    ISBN: 978-0936050119
  • Japanese edition:
    Hardcover: 492 pages
    Publisher: Shinshokan, 2010
    ISBN: 978-4-403-12023-7
  • French edition:
    Paperback: 308 pages
    Publisher: Hermann, 2017
    ISBN: 978-2-7056-9389-3
Books Books: Arakawa and Gins

ARCHITECTURE Reversible Sites, Reversible Destiny (Architectural Experiments after Auschwitz-Hiroshima)

By means of architecture, or by means of what will be slightly but significantly different from what architecture has until now been, perception can be re-routed and new sites for the originating of a person can be found or formed.

– Arakawa and Madeline Gins, Architecture: Sites of Reversible Destiny

Architecture: Sites of Reversible Destiny begins with an essay by Australian philosopher Andrew Benjamin and showcases a selection of projects including Site of Reversible Destiny (Gifu, Japan), Reversible Destiny House I, The Bridge of Reversible Destiny (Epinal, France), and Double Horizon Public Housing (Berlin, Germany).

Art+Design Monograph, Academy Group, 1994


Table of Contents

Andrew Benjamin Landing Sites

Pictorial Preface

Arakawa and Madeline Gins Architecture: Sites of Reversible Destiny


Section One

Ubiquitous Site


Section Two

Constructing the Perceiving of an Ordinary Room/

Generating a Site of Reversible Destiny


Section Three

Constructing the Site/Terrain Studies


Section Four


Some Notes on Tentative Constructed Plans

Site of Reversible Destiny/Reversible Destiny House II (Gifu, Japan)

Reversible Destiny House I

Trench House

Bridge of Reversible Destiny (Epinal, France)

Antartica/Horizon Project

Double-Horizon Public Housing (Berlin/Tokyo)


  • English edition:
    Publisher: Academy Editions, London, 1994

  • Japanese edition:
    Publisher: Suiseisha, 1995 


Books Books: Arakawa and Gins

To Not To Die

“Blank is an event and a method. It is unlike Emptiness, for example, not something to be believed in or not. It provides the tabula rasa with a fullness of its own. Similarly the Vacuum, in our time, has a fullness of its own, and that, too, is composed of indiscernibles.”

—Arakawa/Madeline Gins

Pour Ne Pas Mourir/To Not To Die

Paperback: 130 pages

Publisher: Editions de la Difference, 1987

Language: English and French

ISBN: 2-77291-02-50-7

99 Examples numbered 1-99

26 Examples marked A-Z signed by the authors and containging a suite of 4 etchings by Arakawa

To Not To Die (Japanese Edition)

Translator: Masashi Miura

Publisher: Libroport, 1988

Language: Japanese and English

ISBN: 4-8457-0332-7

Books Books: Madeline Gins

What the President Will Say and Do!!

WHAT THE PRESIDENT WILL SAY AND DO!! is a book about Power and Being, and the languages integral to both. The ostensible subject of Gins’ formidable wit is “The Presidency” and “The Man” who gives it voice. But her virtuosic deconstruction of the devices of political rhetoric suggests a deeper purpose: one related to identity, language, and the value of meaning. Through such pieces as “THE History of THE” and “How to Breathe” Gins sculpts a multidimensional discourse and proposes a model strategy for free, effective speech. Utopia, the author implies, depends on a practical, uncoerced poetics.

“Thank god for thinking….”

—Robert Creeley

Hardback/Paperback: 154 pages

Publisher: Station Hill Press, New York, 1984

Language: English and French

ISBN: 0-90794-93-1 (hardback)

ISBN: 0-90794-92-3 (paperback)

Books Books: Arakawa and Gins

The Mechanism of Meaning

Arakawa and Gins began to collaborate on The Mechanism of Meaning in 1963. While it exists as a series of panels of acrylic and mixed media on canvas that each measure 96 x 68 inches, its development can be traced through a series of publications that represent their ideas and research in another form. They saw The Mechanism of Meaning as an ongoing work, an open-ended process of research and invention. It represents a unique foray into a region where art, experience and thought meet and define each other.

A group of the panels was first shown at the Venice Biennale in 1970. In the following year, Mechanismus der Bedeutung was published and all existing panels were exhibited in 1972 in Germany, Italy and Switzerland. By 1978, a new section as well as numerous drawings were added to the project and gathered together in The Mechanism of Meaning, Work in Progress (1963-1971, 1978) – Based on the method of Arakawa and published in English, French and Italian. In this edition, the original nineteen chapters that structured the work were reduced to sixteen chapters, with the final chapter appearing again as ‘Review and Self-Criticism,’ (in this case comprised of other discrete works by Arakawa).

The third edition of The Mechanism of Meaning published in 1988 reproduces the first fifteen chapters of the second edition and replaces the sixteenth chapter with an expanded selection of drawings and text investigating architectural space. These drawings comprise part of the second version of The Mechanism of Meaning 1988, held in the collection of the Sezon Museum of Art, Karuizawa, Japan. The first version in its final form is illustrated in the Reversible Destiny – Arakawa/Gins Guggenheim Museum Soho catalog published on the occasion of the exhibition of the same name in 1997, comprising eighty panels that make up the first fifteen chapters, a two-panel digital image of City Without Graveyards (Reversible Destiny) as the sixteenth, and a panel displaying a table of contents.


Mechanismus der Bedeutung (Werk im Entstehen: 1963-1971)

Author: Arakawa in cooperation with Madeline Gins, (introduction by Lawrence Alloway)

Hardback/Paperback: 130 pages

Publisher: F. Bruckmann KG, München, 1971

Language: German

ISBN: 3-7654 1440 9 (hbk.)

ISBN: 3-7654 1473 9 (pbk.)

150 hardback copies published as a limited edition containing a silk-screen print signed and numbered by the artist from 1/150 – 150/150


The Mechanism of Meaning, Work in Progress, Work in Progress (1963-1971, 1978). Based on a the method of Arakawa

Author: Arakawa and Madeline H. Gins

Hardback/Paperback: 102 pages

Publisher: Harry N Abrams, New York, 1978

Language: English

ISBN: 0-8109-0667-8 (hbk.)

ISBN: 0-8109-2165-0 (pbk.)


Publisher: Maeght Editeur, Paris

Language: French

ISBN: 285-587-0534 (hbk.)


Publisher: Takagi Gallery, Nagoya

Language: Japanese


The Mechanism of Meaning

Author: Arakawa and Madeline Gins

Hardback/Paperback: 164 pages

Publisher: Abbeville Press Inc, New York, 1988

Language: English

ISBN: 0-89659-809-8 (hbk.)

Books Books: Arakawa

FOR EXAMPLE (A Critique of Never)

For Example (A Critique of Never)


Publisher:Alessandra Castelli Press




Books Books: Madeline Gins

WORD RAIN (or A Discursive Introduction to the Philosophical Investigations of G,R,E,T,A, G,A,R,B,O, It Says)

“…Word Rain, like later texts by Madeline Gins, is an “atmospheric” object, one which seeks to include every mobile peripheral zone and perpetrates repeated assaults on solid boundaries. Word Rain, in keeping with its saturated, pouring title, blurs subject and object, theme and subject: dampens subjectivity into an “it” (“it says”, says its strange, drawn-out title), following what one might call a rule of “thumb”…

…Is the “tensile subject” the subject of the book ? The subject of reading ? Of writing ? How tensile ? Tensile as in extensible ? Or as tensed ? Syntactically, “I find her room” goes back and forth, at top speed, between two reading options, depending on whether “her” is a possessive adjective, or she to whom room is destined. A lot here depends on “whether”. A lot here depends on (the) weather…”

—Marie-Dominique Garnier, extract from “She is raining: reading Word Rain,” 2012



  • English edition:
    Hardcover: 136 pages
    Publisher: Grossman Publishers, Inc., 1967
    SBN: 670-78240-8
  • Spanish edition:
    Hardcover: 140 pages
    Publisher: Greylock, 2023 
    ISBN: 978-84-126633-2-7
Events Programs

Neon Dance: Puzzle Creature

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.
Puzzle Creature, a term coined by Arakawa + Gins, refers to an organism’s constant questioning of its existence and surroundings; “Who or what are we as this species? Puzzle creatures to ourselves, we are visitations of inexplicability” – Madeline Gins and Arakawa, Architectural Body.

Through diverse meditations on this broader question, Neon Dance has created a beautiful and engaging work that leads us on an unforgettable journey.

For ticket reservation please visit:


Saturday, September 15 2018
Sunday, September 16 2018
Start 18:00〜 pm.  / Open 17:30 pm.

Echigo-Tsumari Kamigo Clove Theatre
7-3 Miyanohara, Kamigo, Tsunan-town, Nakauonumagun, Niigata

Adult JPY2500 (including tax) / Advance purchase JPY2000
ETAT2018 passport discount JPY2300 / Children age between 7 and 18 JPY1000


Saturday, September 15 2018

Sunday, September 16 2018

Start 18:00〜 pm.  / Open 17:30 pm.


Echigo-Tsumari Kamigo Clove Theatre

7-3 Miyanohara, Kamigo, Tsunan-town, Nakauonumagun, Niigata


Adult JPY2500 (including tax) / Advance purchase JPY2000

ETAT2018 passport discount JPY2300 / Children age between 7 and 18 JPY1000



Choreographer: Adrienne Hart

Adrienne initially trained at Swindon Dance, winning a scholarship at the age of 17 to train at London Contemporary Dance School. She now works internationally as a choreographer and as Artistic Director of Neon Dance. Neon Dance is currently resident company at Swindon Dance (2017-19) and Adrienne is part of Sadler’s Wells Summer University programme (2015 – 2018), designed to support mid-career dance artists over a four-year period.

Adrienne has worked in Russia, Belgium, Norway, Germany, Kosovo, USA and Japan. Her work has been commissioned and supported by Arts Council England, British Council, Creative England, The Place, Modern Art Oxford, Glastonbury Festival, Art Front Gallery, DanceXchange and Pavilion Dance South West amongst others. Follow @ADRIENNE__HART

Performers: Luke Crook, Mariko Kida, Carys Staton
Music: Eliane Radigue, Sebastian Reynolds
Scenography: Numen / For Use
Costume / props: Ana Rajcevic
Sign language (English): Jemima Hoadley
Sign language (Japanese): Chisato Minamura

Programs Recent Exhibitions


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. 

Hours: Tue–Sat 10AM-6PM



For further information please contact the gallery at or at +1.212.741.1111.

(Image: Arakawa, Texture of Time, 1977; Estate of Madeline Gins)