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The Date Paintings by On Kawara are possibly one of the most consistent diaries of the contemporary fine arts. In self-imposed seclusion, the artist constantly reflected on the phenomenon of time, painting his first Date Painting on 4 January 1966 and continuing this practice until his death on 11 July 2014. Diaries can also be companions and places of refuge over specific periods of time during which their authors experience extraordinary events.
Alex Müller (born in Düren in 1969, resides in Berlin) begins her series of drawings on the day her father is diagnosed with cancer in the spring of this year; she creates her last “entry” 107 days later, on the day of his death. This drastic event occurs at the same time as the coronavirus that has changed us and the world around us, when loved ones are banned from visiting nursing homes and hospitals to protect the sick and the elderly. In narrative moments, and using an unusual, pictorial grammar that combines patterns and naturalistic portrayals, these drawings visualize the idea of all the places we assume the virus can be found. The virus appears as an unknown danger, a threatening stalker, a constant companion in our daily lives and dreams. This is reflected in resonant titles such as Florasso and Hehenne International. Alex Müller also portrays our attempts to tackle the virus by taking action, for example by mowing the meadow – Mähen – in the drawing of the same name. On the other hand, we can only find peace – Frieden – once we accept the general situation as well as our own, personal one. This diary of drawings is a thoughtful contribution to the extreme experiences being shared by many people around the world in these days.
Provinz has published fine art prints of the individual drawings on paper by Römerturm, with a run of only 1 + 2 AP, signed on the back and titled – Verlag für moderne Kunst the book Vom Mähen zum Frieden. At Parallel Editions 2022 selected art prints were presented.
English translation: Emma Jane Stone