Participation in the Present and the Spacing of Time: On Kawara, Nancy, Levinas

  • Ewa Bobrowska Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland


This paper focuses on the close examination of the notions of presence, participation, and time in the conceptual art of On Kawara, in which the rhetorical figure of art works through the spacing of time. In this way, this conceptual art becomes a symbol of absolute creation — the creation of time and the participation in the eternal present, according to Jean-Luc Nancy’s essay: The Technique of the Present: On On Kawara. Moreover, On Kawara’s paintings explore the theme of being and are structured around Martin Heidegger’s concept of “throwness” in the world, as they convey the sense of being carried along by the events and the impetus of the world. The materiality of the loneliness of the self, which is crucial for this artistic project, is considered with reference to Emmanuel Levinas’s thought and Samuel Beckett’s …but the clouds…