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.”

ARTnews, February 1, 2017

Architecture Built works

Ubiquitous Site • Nagi’s Ryoanji • Architectural Body

Ubiquitous Site • Nagi’s Ryoanji • Architectural Body is the first permanent architectural work designed and created by Arakawa and Madeline Gins. Commissioned for the Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art, it is one of three large-scale permanent installations, identified as the sun, moon and earth, that are part of the museum built by Arata Isozaki. The other permanent installations are by Kazuo Okazaki (moon) and Aiko Miyawaki (earth).

The Sun by Arakawa and Gins appears as a large cylindrical tube attached to the museum building. Visitors enter the structure from below within a small room in the museum with the floors and ceiling painted in black and yellow in a maze motif.  A black leaning column in its center contains a spiral staircase that leads visitors initially into darkness and then into the light saturated space above. Upon entering the cylindrical room, visitors must reorient their bodies as the tilted floor causes a sense of dislocation. The south-facing room contains two versions of the famous Ryoanji Garden in Kyoto, opposing each other on the walls. The floor and ceiling are bisected length ways by two colors: grey and red on the floor, and grey and green on the ceiling. A curved bench and a see saw are attached to the floor mirrored on the ceiling at different scales. 

Describing the experience in the museum catalogue, Koji Takahashi, curator at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Tokyo wrote, “the small entrance room, the stairway and the cylindrical room present an exercise in perception and physical experience. The balance between self-consciousness and the perception of one’s body is broken down, the ‘axis’ shifts, consciousness leans out, is ‘doubled’ and ‘something’ emerges. This ‘something’ existed in the perceptions of a newborn child. We have forgotten it in growing up.”



Virtual tour of the Ubiquitous Site • Nagi’s Ryoangi • Architectural Body, 2021

Architecture Built works

Site of Reversible Destiny—Yoro Park

Arakawa and Gins’ Site of Reversible Destiny—Yoro Park, is a created landscape containing a series of pavilions, undulating planes, shifting colors, and disorienting spaces that the artists presented to visitors as a place of purposeful experimentation. The work is part of the larger Yoro Park, located in Yoro, Gifu Prefecture, and opened to the public in 1995.

The first pavilion encountered is the Reversible Destiny Office (added later in 1997) that contains an uneven pastel colored maze and a ceiling that mirrors the design of the floor. The Critical Resemblance House is the next building in the park and also includes a maze with walls bisecting furniture and a map of Gifu Prefecture forming its roof. The Elliptical Field encompasses the rest of the park and is set in a concave basin in the foothills of the local mountains.

More pavilions (referred to as Architectural Fragments) are set in the terrain of the Elliptical Field and have names such as Exactitude Ridge, Trajectory Membrane Gate, Zone of Clearest Confusion, Mono no Aware Transformer, and Imaging Navel. Additionally, the Elliptical Field contains an intricate network of 148 paths and 5 maps of Japan placed at different scales throughout the landscape. The vegetation includes 24 different breeds of herbs selected by Arakawa and Gins to emphasize the changing of seasons.

Arakawa and Gins believed that changes in bodily perception would lead to changes in consciousness. Consequently, they developed architecture and constructed environments that challenge the body as a way to “reverse our destinies.” Arakawa and Gins wish for visitors to explore the site like children and to reorient perceptions and discover the unlimited possibilities of the body.


• Completed in 1995

• Size: 195,000 sq ft / 18,100 sq m

• Program: Public Park

• Location: Yoro-Park, Gifu Prefecture, Japan

For more information please visit:

Virtual tour of the Site of Reversible Destiny—Yoro Park, 2020

Architecture Built works

Reversible Destiny Lofts—Mitaka (In Memory of Helen Keller)

The Reversible Destiny Lofts—Mitaka (In Memory of Helen Keller) were the first multi-residential works of ‘procedural architecture’ built by Arakawa and Madeline Gins.

This complex of apartments built in Mitaka, a suburb of Tokyo, consists of nine residential units primarily utilizing three shapes (the cube, the sphere and the tube) arranged in stacked forms. Each apartment has a circular room with a kitchen at its center and includes three or four shapes depending on the size of the unit. The floor of the central space is made of an uneven compacted material with vertical poles to assist moving within the space and ceiling hooks allow for the introduction of storage, lighting and furniture. The entire complex is painted in fourteen colors and linked by a series of external walkways and staircases.

The project was achieved through the application of the philosophy of ‘procedural architecture’ as developed by Arakawa and Gins and aims to challenge and stimulate the senses. Residents and guests who inhabit these spaces are given the possibility to discover the full potential of the body and experience challenging environments that may feel at different times more appropriate to a child or an elderly person. Helen Keller was a source of inspiration to Arakawa and Gins, and was described by them as someone able to practice ‘reversible destiny’ in her own life time. The lofts have been dedicated in her memory.

The Reversible Destiny Lofts—Mitaka are managed by Coordinologist, Inc. and are used as residential, educational and cultural facilities.


• Completed in 2005

• Size: Total floor area 8200 sq ft / 762 m²

• Program: Residential Apartments

• Location: Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan


For more information please visit:

Virtual tour of Reversible Destiny Lofts Mitaka, 2020

Architecture Built works

Bioscleave House (Lifespan Extending Villa)

In their book Architectural Body, Madeline Gins and Arakawa introduced the term ‘bioscleave’ stating: “Architecture’s holding in place occurs within and as part of a prevailing atmospheric condition that others routinely call biosphere, but which we, feeling the need to stress its dynamic nature, have renamed bioscleave.” 

Bioscleave House (Lifespan Extending Villa) was the first work of ‘procedural architecture’ to be built in the United States. Designed as a single family dwelling, at its center is a sunken kitchen and dining area surrounded by the steep and uneven floors of the living space. Attached to a pre-existing house, it can be accessed via a linking corridor, a labyrinthine basement directly into the kitchen or through the two front doors that sit atop steep slopes. The planning of the building demonstrates rotational symmetry to determine the position of four separate yet open rooms that radiate from the center: two bedrooms, a bathroom and a study. The interior and exterior walls of these rooms are painted in blocks of vibrant colors in contrast to the opaque walls that link them together and define the parameter of the living space. Windows are placed at unexpected heights and vertical poles assist navigation of the challenging uneven floor.

Arakawa and Gins designated Biocleave House as an “inter-active laboratory of everyday life” whose terrain and walls are deliberately realized in unexpected ways to keep a person ‘tentative’ so that they must actively negotiate even the simplest tasks. This heightened body awareness and the challenging of senses can, they believed, allow the body to constantly re-configure itself and with time become a means to strengthen the immune system. Bioscleave House fundamentally proposes an architecture of viability that helps to sustain one throughout life, and even extend human lifespan indefinitely. 


• Completed in 2008

• Size: 2700 sq ft / 255 m²

• Program: Residence

• Location: East Hampton, New York

Architecture Built works

Biotopological Scale-Juggling Escalator

Commissioned by the fashion designer Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons for Dover Street Market – New York, the Biotopological Scale-Juggling Escalator is a scaled model version of the Reversible Destiny Lifespan Extending Module. The module is a home developed by Arakawa and Gins that is characterized by a large central space surrounded by, and linked to, four individual rooms.

Tilted to connect two floors within the store, the Biotopological Scale-Juggling Escalator’s main central space functions as a staircase. The installation’s bulbous exterior, painted mostly in a soft white appears anatomical in form. The interior walls of the structure begin with a deep purple and magenta at its base that gradate in lightness towards the ceiling. The steps, edged with uneven rammed yellow earth, are made from different colored stone and lined by two pairs of interweaving handrails. On either side of the steps are scaled models of four rooms or ‘wings’ of the Reversible Destiny Lifespan Extending Module. Two penetrate the walls of the structure, another is set into it in profile, and a fourth balances on the terrain floor. Each contains a figure to present them as places to be inhabited and explored.

Realized by Madeline Gins in 2013, this work of ‘procedural architecture’ operates against the aging process by triggering cognitive understanding via multiple scales, gradient colors, diagonal symmetry, two pairs of serpentine-like handrails, and different colored staircase stone steps. In walking up or down what Gins termed as an escalator, a person’s encounter with the space allows for his or her body to increase its awareness of and relationship to the overall architectural experience.


• Completed in 2013

• Size: Approx. 20 ft x 10 ft – 6.1 m x 3 m

• Program: Permanent Installation

• Location: 160 Lexington Avenue, New York NY


Unrealized Projects

After the exhibition Building Sensoriums 1973-1990 at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York, Arakawa and Gins continued their investigation into how architecture could transform people’s lives through a built environment. Actively collaborating with leading practitioners in a wide-range of disciplines including (but not limited to) biology, neuroscience, quantum physics, phenomenology, and medicine, they worked on projects for residences, parks and housing complexes.

In 1994, Arakawa and Gins were awarded first prize for their master plan to build a city in Tokyo Bay. It would be a city made of neighborhoods based on modules set within layers of highly articulated terrain. While the project was never realized, Arakawa and Gins continued to develop large-scale architectural, landscape and city plans.

As Gins wrote on her imagining of the experience of Isle of Reversible Destiny, Fukuoka, 2003: “On a bright, sunny day, out you go for a stroll through an urban landscape, hometown to you, a modular city that gives new meaning to the term modularity. Within you, or, if we refer to the greater you, within your immediate vicinity, architectural volumes ignite sparks of determination of every variety on many scales of action at once. A very natural and natural-appearing engineered terrain, an extremely articulated, and, it might be said, re-articulated, terrain makes it possible for the body and the city to operate conjointly—as much kinaesthetically, proprioceptively, and tactilely as visually.”

As part of their exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum Soho in 1997, Arakawa and Gins presented plans and models for a range of houses where both the exteriors and interiors used challenging artificial terrains and labyrinths, often rotated, inverted and mirrored, to stimulate the occupants. After completing the Reversible Destiny Lofts Mitaka in 2005, Arakawa and Gins developed plans to build the Reversible Destiny Hotel in New York as “a meditative architectural context within which to demonstrate and explore the full range of human capabilities, not only those generally acknowledged to be part of the human repertoire, but still nascent ones.”

The Reversible Destiny Healing Fun House was originally conceived for Peloponnesus in Greece and a later version for Palm Springs, California. Conceived after Arakawa’s death in 2010, it was a project that Gins continued to work on in the years that followed. She described it as “a structure that contradicts itself at every turn.”

Programs Recent Exhibitions

Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971

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.

Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971 was organized by the National Gallery of Art. The exhibition travels to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where it will be on view from March 19 through September 10, 2017.


Events Programs

Children Who Won’t Die

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.



November 3, 2016

7:00 p.m.

264 Canal Street, 3W, New York, New York

Free admission

Events Programs

Points of Convergence: Arakawa and the Art of 1960’s – 1970’s

Born in Nagoya, Japan, Arakawa rebelled as a Neo Dada artist in the late-1950’s Japanese art world. Fiercely independent and inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s “art in the service of the mind,” he moved to New York in 1961. This growing city of avant-garde experimentation attracted artists from all over the world; including many Japanese artists such as: Ay-O, On Kawara, Naoto Nakagawa, and Yoko Ono; whose paths crossed in life as well as participants in heated discussions about the nature and meaning of art. Living in the midst of this fast-changing scene of the 1960s and 70s, Arakawa along with these artists became an integral part of the emergence of Minimalism and Conceptual Art.

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 the time. Dr. Charles Haxthausen has authored key texts for deciphering often-cryptic art of the artist by applying not only art-historical but also philosophical analyses. The painter Naoto Nakagawa became acquainted with Arakawa in 1965, recalled times spent in the fellowship of like-minded artists from Japan and beyond. Dr. Reiko Tomii, with her in-depth knowledge of postwar Japanese art history, keenly detects what changed and what remained constant in the art of Arakawa during the two decades that thrust him into the world.

In collaboration with Asia Contemporary Art Week and hosted by Artnet, this event launches Reversible Destiny Foundation’s series of public programs.

Points of Convergence: Arakawa and the Art of 1960s – 1970s


Charles “Mark” Haxthausen is Robert Sterling Clark Professor of Emeritus of Art History at Williams College, where he taught from 1993 to 2016. During that time he served for fourteen years as director of the Williams College/Clark Art Institute Graduate Program in the History of Art. Professor Haxthausen has played a significant international role as a curator and consultant in the field of modern and contemporary German art. Known for his work on Paul Klee, he has published numerous articles on German artists and critics. He edited the book The Two Art Histories: The Museum and the University and co-edited Berlin: Culture and Metropolis. His exhibition, Sol LeWitt: The Well-Tempered Grid, presented at the Williams College Museum of Art in 2012, won the Association of Art Museum Curators’ award of excellence for the Outstanding Exhibition in a University Museum in North America. His book, Carl Einstein: Refiguring Visuality, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press.

Naoto Nakagawa was born in Kobe, Japan in 1944 and in 1962 he immigrated to New York City. His paintings have been widely exhibited, starting in 1968 at the legendary avant-garde Judson Gallery and recently at Feature, Inc. in New York. A two-part survey of Nakagawa’s work was mounted with his early work at White Box and his current work at Ethan Cohen Fine Arts. His work is included in many public and private collections including the New York Museum of Modern Art. He has taught at Columbia University and Parsons School of Design.

Dr. Reiko Tomii is an independent art historian, who investigates post-1945 Japanese art in global and local contexts. Her research topic encompasses “international contemporaneity,” collectivism, and conceptualism in 1960s art, as demonstrated by her contribution to Global Conceptualism (Queens Museum of Art, 1999), Century City (Tate Modern, 2001), and Art, Anti-Art, Non-Art (Getty Research Institute, 2007). Her book, Radicalism in the Wilderness: International Contemporaneity and 1960s Art in Japan, was published from MIT Press in Spring 2016.

The program was moderated by Dr. Miwako Tezuka, Consulting Curator of Reversible Destiny Foundation.
Download PDF of article from Artnet

Events Programs

Work in Progress – Explorations of Arakawa + Gins

Lecture series at gallery Art Unlimited
October 21, 22, 28, 2016

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

Programs Recent Exhibitions

The Eye of Arturo Schwarz

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 center 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.  The gallery, originally a bookshop, held regular poetry readings and was frequented by artists who considered it a haven for artistic discussion and debate.  Galleria Schwarz was one of the most prominent galleries in Europe after the war, and left a void beyond the Italian art market when it closed in 1975. 

To help recreate the atmosphere of Galleria Schwarz, all works in this exhibition were either shown at the gallery or are by artists whose work Schwarz exhibited. Works included paintings, sculpture, original catalogues from past Schwarz exhibitions, as well as books of poetry published by Schwarz.  

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.