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On Kawara (1933-2014)
On Kawara (1933-2014)

I Am Still Alive

On Kawara (1933-2014) I Am Still Alive (i) telegram (ii) envelope (i)11¼ x 8¼in. (28.6 x 21cm.) (ii) 4 ½ x 9in. (11.5 x 23cm.) Executed in 1988
Gift from the artist to the present owner.

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Lot Essay

‘[On] Kawara’s I am still alive telegrams are eloquent also through what they don’t say - as saying anything would be impossible - were their message untrue. As with Descartes, the ‘I am’ is indubitable at the time of writing and ‘still alive’ constitutes an acknowledgement of the dimension of time already embodied in the telegram. Its humor is derived from the fact that the recipient would be unaware of any recent life-threatening circumstances befalling the artist. It is like the answer to a question that hasn’t been asked. And it is perfectly deadpan’ (J. Watkins, quoted in,J. Watkins & R. Denizot, On Kawara, New York 2002, p. 87).

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