Installation Views

Works Exhibited


I wanted to change art, to change life—I became a radical.

Gagosian is pleased to present Waiting Voices, an exhibition of works on canvas and paper by Arakawa produced between 1964 and 1984. This is the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery in Basel.

Arakawa (1936–2010) was one of the earliest international pioneers of Conceptual art, and a founding member of the Japanese avant-garde collective Neo Dada. Working in painting, drawing, printmaking, and architecture, he described himself as an “eternal outsider” and an “abstractionist of the distant future.” After relocating from Tokyo to New York in 1961, where he encountered Marcel Duchamp and many of the French artist’s contemporaries, he began producing “diagram paintings,” combining schematic images with text in a study of epistemology and perception. In 1962, Arakawa met his future wife and collaborator, the poet, writer, and philosopher Madeline Gins. From 1963 to 1973, the couple collaborated on an eighty-painting suite, The Mechanism of Meaningand in the 1990s they worked on a theory of “procedural architecture” through which they aimed to extend the lives of a building’s occupants.

Waiting Voices features paintings and drawings produced by Arakawa over a twenty-year span. A Diagram of Imagination (1965), Separated Continuums (1966), and A Couple (1966–67) are among several paintings from the mid-1960s that represent architectural space. The earliest of the three shows part of a simple town plan layered over a grid; the others focus on interior space. In Separated Continuums, coordinates on a grid—featureless apart from two colored lines—are labeled with the names of household objects and fixtures. A Couple is, for the most part, similarly schematic, but Arakawa has added renderings of windows to the graphic marks as well as stenciled words and numbers that denote the contents of the room. The painting’s diptych format also hints at a narrative progression and allows viewers to imagine the unseen titular duo.

Cover of the book Arakawa: Diagrams for the Imagination

Arakawa: Diagrams for the Imagination

Cover of the Fall 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly magazine, featuring artwork by Nathaniel Mary Quinn

Gagosian Quarterly: Fall 2019 Issue

Cover of the Fall 2018 issue of Gagosian Quarterly magazine, featuring artwork by Nate Lowman

Gagosian Quarterly: Fall 2018 Issue