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On Kawara

One Million Years

Set of 2 volumes - 14.4 x 10.5 cm each volume - 2012 pages per volume - Total of 4024 pages

Courtesy mfc-michèle didier, Paris


On Kawara’s One Million Yearswas specially selected for this exhibition. The set of two books include the first volume, Past –For all those who have lived and died, starts in 998031 BC and ends in 1969 AD, namely One Million Yearslater. At this date starts the One Million Yearsin the œuvre of On Kawara, transcribed here for this edition on 2000 pages. The second volume, Future–For the last one, starts in 1993 AD and ends One Million Years later, in 1001992. This period is equally transcribed for the edition on 2000 pages. The text of each page is laid out in 10 columns, rigorously aligned and subdivided in 5 blocks of 100 years. Each block contains 10 lines and each line contains a decennium. The two volumes of the book correspond, their internal organization is identical. At the request of the artist, portions of the books have been read aloud in locations around the world.


On Kawara was born in 1933 in Kariya, in Japan. He died in 2014 in New York. For over five decades he examines chronological time. His artistic practice was characterized by an approach to conception of time, space, and consciousness. One of his most important projects, "One Million Years" comprises One Million Years [Past]", which was dedicated to "all those who have lived and died," and "One Million Years [Future]", addressed to "the last one.