• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 11960

    First Open | London

    14 April 2016, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 37

    On Kawara (1933-2014)

    I am Still Alive

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    On Kawara (1933-2014)
    I am Still Alive
    telegram
    5 ¾ x 8 ¼in. (14.6 x 20.9cm.)
    Executed in 1973


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    Two exquisitely ephemeral works by On Kawara encapsulate the artist’s meditative approach to notions of time, space, and consciousness. I am Still Alive, 1973 is a single telegram which Kawara sent to Bjorn Springfeldt, the director of the Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm during 1973. The second telegram, I am Still Alive, 1988, addressed to fellow artist Philipe Andre Rihoux in Brussels is an example of Kawara’s later telegrams, incorporating both the telegram slip and the envelope it was sent in. These two delicate pieces of communication both contain the electronically typed message ‘I am still alive, On Kawara’. The artist sent nearly nine hundred telegrams of this kind to many friends and acquaintances for more than three decades. Like his celebrated Date Paintings, which document the ineffable passage of time with ritualistic precision, the telegrams record the very fact the artist’s own existence with almost deadpan solemnity.

    Provenance

    Gift from the artist to the present owner in 1973.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY OF A SWEDISH PRIVATE COLLECTOR