I Went. On KAWARA.
I Went.
I Went.

Signed by On Kawara; With the Suppressed “1974” Volume

I Went.

Illus. throughout. Total of 4740 pp. 13 vols. Thick 4to (all 216 x 155 mm.), uniform gray cloth, titles on spines. Brussels: mfc-michèle didier, 2007.

The very rare monumental facsimile of the On Kawara’s I Went series (1968-79); signed by the artist. For more than a decade, Kawara (1932-2014, i.e., 29,771 days,) assiduously recorded all of his movements on photocopied local maps on which he traced his peregrinations in red. This period of the artist’s life was especially peripatetic; he traveled around North America, South America, Europe, and Japan. Besides Walther König’s facsimile (1992, edition of 300) of Kawara’s I Went, I Met, I Read from 1969, the present set is the sole re-publication of I Went authorized by the artist and his estate.

This reproduction of Kawara’s original unique work was produced in an edition of 100 numbered copies (including 10 A.P.); he has signed the colophon of the final volume. Kawara signed the “Date Paintings” comprising the Today series, otherwise examples of his signature are all but unattainable.

Our set of I Went retains the suppressed misprinted “1974” volume, making a total of 13 volumes, instead of the intended 12. It seems that several maps were not properly printed in the first run. The publisher quickly sent out replacement volumes, suggesting that owners of the work dispose of the misprinted volume.

The Guggenheim’s exhibition catalogue Silence (p. 139) describes the original work: “In I Went, On Kawara traced his movements in the course of each day in red ballpoint on a photocopy of a local map stamped with the date. As in I Met, individual pages are sheathed in transparent plastic sleeves and gathered into loose-leaf binders, two for each year. Kawara completed at least one map per day, and two on days he traveled, with any change of location indicated on a separate sheet…

“Kawara began the series on June 1, 1968, in Mexico City during the key period of travel that also saw the inauguration of I Got Up and I Met. His interest in place had been germinating for some time, however, perhaps most evidently in his 1965 painting Location. Maps are also a key element in the "1964 Paris-New York Drawings," and early paintings feature subtitles such as ‘From 123 Chambers St. to 405 E. 13th St.’ (Jan. 19, 1966), describing the trip to his studio from the studio of his future wife…

“The markings on an I Went map indicate Kawara’s movements regardless of his mode of transportation. When Kawara left the area shown by the map, arrows and notes designate his ultimate destination and his path of return. Short lines denote buildings he stopped in; red dots indicate where he awoke that day (also the location from which that day’s I Got Up postcard was addressed); a single red dot without any other mark means he did not leave home…

“Throughout his travels, Kawara chose maps of the same general scale and color balance, often from a stationer’s store, then photocopied them, cropping and making adjustments to assure uniform size and appearance in the work. Unlike I Met, whose lists of names were typed from field notes only at home in New York, Kawara composed I Went while traveling: when unable to immediately procure or photocopy an appropriate map upon arriving in a city, he drew his routes on a quick tracing he made from any available map, then completed the real I Went on a satisfactory copy after returning home. Maps are cropped depending on where exactly the artist traveled or lived. Most maps of New York depict Manhattan below Forty-seventh Street, providing a consistent template for routes to and from Kawara’s residences and haunts over the years…

“Kawara’s movements were to some degree circumscribed by I Went. For example, on late nights out, he had to make careful note of his precise location at midnight to properly transition to the following day’s map. Kasper König tells a story of a trip to Nova Scotia when Kawara, feeling ill, declined to accompany him to a late-night gathering – not because he felt unwell per se but because he had already completed his map for the day and felt he would be unable to remember the path they took.”

In fine condition; some inoffensive scuffs to a couple volumes. With the original publisher’s wooden box. A single copy is recorded on WorldCat, at the University of Michigan.

❧ Jeffrey Weiss, ed., Silence (2015).

Price: $25,000.00

Item ID: 7750