The Machanism of Meaning No.2 Splitting of Meaning

Shusaku Arakawa1963/1988

Sezon Museum of Modern Art

Sezon Museum of Modern Art
Karuizawa,Kitasaku,Nagano, Japan

Born in Nagoya in 1936, Shusaku Arakawa was a leading contemporary artist in Japan. While participating in avant-garde movement Neo Dada Organizers in Tokyo in 1960, Arakawa released three-dimensional works in the shape of coffin. He emigrated to New York by himself in 1961 and met his life time partner Madeline Gins. Arakawa received attention through the Diagrammatic Paintings series, where words and signs were placed on the three-dimensional flat paintings, and earned an international reputation though the Mechanism of Meaning in the 1970s. In the 1990s, he embarked on architectural works with Gins as a test for Reversible Destiny, a concept experiment to reverse humans’ destiny of death, and completed Site of Reversible Destiny - Yoro in Gifu in 1995 and the Reversible Destiny Lofts - Mitaka in Tokyo in 2005.

The Mechanism of Meaning (the second version) owned by Sezon Museum of Modern Art consist of 16 chapters with 81 two-dimensional works of the same size, 44 drawings, a photograph, and a model. This work with a short biography of Leonard da Vinci on a duplicate of Leonard’s the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne is a piece from Chapter 7 Splitting of Meaning.


  • Title: The Machanism of Meaning No.2 Splitting of Meaning
  • Creator: Shusaku Arakawa, Madeline Gins
  • Date Created: 1963/1988
  • Physical Dimensions: 244.0×173.0
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: © 2016 Estate of Madeline Gins. Reproduced with permission of the Estate of Madeline Gins.
  • Medium: Oil ,etc on canvas

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