February 7, 2019 - Graham Foundation - Arakawa and Madeline Gins: Eternal Gradient
e-flux Architecture
February 7, 2019
February 7, 2019

Graham Foundation

Arakawa and Madeline Gins, drawing for Container of Perceiving, 1984. Acrylic, watercolor, and graphite on paper, 42 1/2 x 72 3/4 inches. Photo: Nicholas Knight. © 2018 Estate of Madeline Gins. Reproduced with permission of the Estate of Madeline Gins.

Arakawa and Madeline Gins
Eternal Gradient
February 7–April 27, 2019

Graham Foundation
Madlener House
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610

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Tracing the emergence of architecture as a wellspring of creativity and theoretical exploration for the artist Arakawa (1936–2010) and poet and philosopher Madeline Gins (1941–2014), this exhibition features over 40 drawings and other archival materials that illuminate a pivotal moment within a practice that spanned nearly five decades of collaboration.

In the early 1960s, Arakawa and Gins began a remarkably original and prolific partnership that encompassed painting, installations, poetry, literature, architecture, urbanism, philosophy, and scientific research. Complementing their independent artistic and literary practices, their collaborative work launched with visual, semiotic, and tactile experiments that questioned the limits and possibilities of human perception and consciousness. During the 1980s — a critical juncture in their careers — this line of inquiry became increasingly spatial as Arakawa and Gins developed a series of speculative architectural projects that sought to challenge the bodily and psychological experience of users. Through these investigations, the artists began to articulate their concept of “Reversible Destiny,” arguing for the transformative capacity of architecture to empower humans to resist their own deaths. This exhibition uncovers a little-known body of this visionary work that anticipated the artists’ subsequent commitment to architecture and their realization of various “sites of Reversible Destiny,” in Japan and New York between 1994–2013.

Eternal Gradient examines this exploratory period through an array of original drawings as well as archival material and writings that demonstrate the working methods and wide-ranging research interests of Arakawa and Gins. It is organized in five sections with key speculative projects and ephemera from the 1960s through the 1980s: Screen-Valves; Painter and Poet; Container for Mind-Blank-Body; The Body; and The Process in Question / The Bridge of Reversible Destiny. Throughout the exhibition, a series of floor drawings and steel-mesh structures—designed by Norman Kelley—recall the densely-gridded drawings on display and create intimate spaces and new perspectives to engage the work.

Related Events
Thursday, February 7, 5:30pm
Eternal Gradient opening reception
5:30pm Comments by curator Irene Sunwoo; Stephen Hepworth, director of collections at the Reversible Destiny Foundation; and exhibition designers Carrie Norman and Thomas Kelley
6–8pm Opening reception

Thursday, February 21, 6pm
Léopold Lambert
Manifesto for an Anti-Normative Architecture: A Political Reading of Arakawa+Gins


Wednesday, April 17, 6pm
Charles Bernstein

Bollingen Prize Poetry Reading presented in partnership with the Poetry Foundation

Arakawa and Madeline Gins: Eternal Gradient originated at the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) and is made possible, in part, by the Estate of Madeline Gins and through a partnership with the Reversible Destiny Foundation. It was curated by Irene Sunwoo, GSAPP director of exhibitions and curator, with Tiffany Lambert, GSAPP assistant director of exhibitions. The Graham Foundation presentation is organized by Sarah Herda, director, and Ellen Alderman, deputy director of exhibitions and public programs. The exhibition design is by Norman Kelley, a Chicago and New Orleans architecture and design collective founded by Carrie Norman and Thomas Kelley.

About the Graham Foundation
Founded in 1956, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts fosters the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. The Graham realizes this vision through making project-based grants to individuals and organizations and by producing exhibitions, events, and publications.

Graham Foundation
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Eternal Gradient
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