ON GOT UP 1968

GAUCHO GAUCHO




I'm about to present a sequence of 27 postcards that On Kawara sent to Kasper 
König in December, 1968. Only two different cards were used from December 4, 1968 to December 30, 1968. But one of those cards had first appeared a few days earlier. And as a high quality reproduction of it appears in On Kawara: horizontality/verticality, I'll place it here as a benchmark:

ladttjarrxiaocxcb0bsqa_thumb_e092 Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.


I also need to say that a man called Takashi Hashimoto appears on the 'I MET' list on December 3, that's the day before the sequence I'm going to pick out. Takashi must have been a very close friend of On Kawara's. Five other members of what I'm assuming to be a single Hashimoto family crop up often in May, June, July, August and September, 1968, when On was in Mexico City. That's Keiko, Magdalena, Francisco, Roberto and Angela. A mix of Spanish and Japanese first names and the Hashimoto family name. But Takashi crops up in a completely different way. He's first there on 'I MET' for the last ten days of July and the first seven of August, in Mexico City. That is, by definition, meeting On every one of those seventeen days. He then joined On and Hiroko for five days in Lima in the middle of October. And he was about to spend six days in On and Hiroko's company in Buenos Aires in December, 1968. However, I think Takashi lived in New York, close to the Kawaras. Certainly, he was part of the inner circle that On was to meet regularly when doing his Apollo 11 Date Paintings, the huge ones, in July of 1969.

But what was Takashi like? Well, I don't know, he doesn't seem to have been part of the art world. But I suspect he must have been playful. To some extent, I'm beginning to realise, On Kawara was responsive to the personalities of his friends. Kasper König got postcards because he famously collected them. Dan Graham received 117 postcards in a row in 1970, but get this. On and Dan (who knew each other well) met up on the first of those 117 days, and I would suggest that an arrangement was made. That is, On would send a set of identical cards of the Statue of Liberty to Dan Graham and, in due course, Dan Graham would display them in the New York gallery that he managed at that time.

Maybe Takashi Hashimoto took a liking to one or both of the gaucho postcards, seeing them in On Kawara's hotel room amongst piles of various postcards. Anyway, on December 4, the following postcard was sent to Kasper König. The card is reproduced on the Tama Art University site at not quite as high a quality as the single one that appears in the horizontality/verticality book, but I am nevertheless extremely grateful for its existence:

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


The next day, Takashi Hashimoto's name heads the 'I MET' List, implying that On was with Takashi after midnight, perhaps discussing who was going to be sent what cards, perhaps playing chess, in any case, doing something together.

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.



All right, that's us underway. Kasper König was going to be sent these two cards alternately until December 30. That is, there will be 14 copies of the 'one gaucho' card alternating with 13 copies of the 'two gaucho' card. I hope that is a clear pattern. But it is not the whole picture. On Kawara sent out two cards every day. Who was getting card number two at this time, and what did it show?

Well, seventy-two cards that On Kawara sent to Frank Donegan went up for sale in 2009. A single picture shows 70 of the cards and the 'two gaucho' card stands out, as it crops up ten times. There are no examples of the 'one gaucho' card.

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.


The 'two gaucho' card in question crops up in rows three, four, five and six. The note of the auction on Mutual Art's website suggests that the cards were posted from January 1969 to January 1977, but I don't think that's quite right. The 'two gauchos' card is a Buenos Aires card, and On Kawara left Buenos Aires on January 16, 1969, never to return. In those first sixteen days of 1969, the first card was a topographical one of Buenos Aires, sent to Kasper König. I think it much more likely that the second 'two gauchos' card was sent at the same time as the first one, that is in December 1968. Though I accept that I could be wrong about this.

Mutual Art also provides a photograph of the message side of the cards. Again, it suggests that 72 cards were sold, but this time the date of the sale is put at 2001. And the reproduction, although clearly made at the same time as the picture postcard side, just shows 55 cards.

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.


In this case, it's the postage stamps that give a little information. Cards posted from the States in 1975 using two small blue stamps, are at the top of the grid. Then the cards posted from Berlin in 1976 cover the next five rows. Then come the ten cards with two red stamps (though here looking brown), which appear to be portraits, that I believe would have been on the ten 'two gauchos' cards, as they were on the cards that were sent to Kasper König in the same city.

So if Frank Donegan - who On Kawara met in May 1968 in Mexico City, and struck up a life-long friendship with - was getting the second 'two gauchos' card, who was getting the second 'one gaucho' card?

Let me remind you who was getting the first 'one gaucho' card:


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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


And let me remind you that Takashi Hashimoto was still being MET by On at this time. On the 6th of December, Takashi was the first name on the 'I MET' list and Hiroko's was the second. Meaning that On and Takashi had been up after midnight, talking, on December 5, or doing something together. Let's carry on. Postcard for Kasper!


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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


And I'm suggesting that the second card sent on December 7 went to Frank Donegan. Takashi was still being MET as on December 7. Though its Hiroko's name first and Takashi's second. Suggesting no late night talking or playing chess. What next? Who got the second version of the 'one gaucho' card?


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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


Well, I don't know. Though I'm about to dig into why I don't know.

Was Takashi Hashimoto still around? Yes, December 8 was his penultimate day. Hiroko was number one on the 'I MET' list and Takashi number three. Separated by Jose Padin, who we should take note of as his was a very regular name on 'I MET' lists while On and Hiroko were in Buenos Aires. The phrase 'On and Hiroko' just slipped out there. But they were a team all right. And had been since Hiroko joined On in Mexico and travelled with him to Bogota, Quito, Lima, Santiago and then Buenos Aires.


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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


Please note the last three getting up times. 12.20PM, 12.20PM and 12.46PM. What on Earth was going on? Well, Takashi Hashimoto's name is first on the DEC. 9 list, and Hiroko's name is second. It could be that On and Takashi were playing chess long into the night.


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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


On did not meet Takashi on December 10, the only day in the 27-day period that he got up before 10am. Takashi had left Buenos Aires. But On Kawara continued with the pattern he was making. That is, sending two different gaucho cards to Kasper König (which we know for a fact), while sending the 'one gaucho' card every second day to an unknown recipient, and a 'two gauchos' card every second day to Frank Donegan in New York. If you've got that, then do a fist-bump with your nearest neighbour, whether he/she is on horseback or not.


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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


I am going to complicate matters here in order to make progress with the puzzle. On Kawara created this pattern at two distinct times. First, in December 1968 when sharing a Buenos Aires hotel with Hiroko and, for a few days, Takashi Hashimoto. Second, in 2008, when in partnership with Michele Didier, the book 'I GOT UP' was selected and photographed. On Kawara chose to represent each day from May 10, 1968, to September 17, 1979, with a single postcard. That is, he chose one of the two daily postcards that he sent out. In a sense, this meant that he was only telling half the story. He could reveal that he had been sending postcards to X while concealing that he had been sending postcards to Y. Or, he could reveal that he had been sending postcards to both X and Y. On's game. On's rules.

In representing May, 1968, On Kawara only reproduced the postcards that went to Kasper König. It may be that the second card had been sent to Dan Graham and that Dan Graham didn't retain it, bear in mind.


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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


In 2008, when choosing cards to represent June, 1968, On could have confined himself to Kasper König cards, but instead included four cards to Joseph Kosuth, five cards to Joseph's partner, Christine Kozlov, and one to Sol LeWitt. But On decided to go further and, although I'm presuming the relevant card sent to Kasper König was available, he recreated the card that had been sent to Dan Graham on June 12, 1968, and the card sent to Dorothy and Herbert Vogel on June 21, 1968. Although these recreations are date-stamped and give the time that On Kawara got up, and his own address, the picture side of the postcard is not shown above the message side, and the right hand message side of the card just contains the name of the recipient. No postage stamps, no address, just 'DAN GRAHAM', on June 12, 1968.

In July 1968, On Kawara returned to the policy of only reproducing Kasper König cards. The big reveal comes in a 37-day slot between February 10 and March 18, 1969, when not a single Kasper König card was reproduced, though a numbered card was sent to Kasper König on each of these days. Instead, approximately 17 other recipients are shown. On ten occasions (cards to Kosuth, Kozlov, Lewitt and John Evans) these were actual postcards, but on most occasions the cards were recreations, as the originals may not have been retained by the recipients. Take a blushing bow: Ray Johnson, Raquel Jodorowsky, Richard Pugliese, David Behrman, Ichara Haryu, Dan Graham, Yoshiaka Tono and Roy Lichtenstein.

Returning to the gaucho period, December, 1968. Sitting down in 2006, On Kawara chose to hide the fact that he'd sent any cards at all to Frank Donegan. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to choose a Donegan 'two gauchos' card instead of a Kasper König one. To my mind, that would have further enriched the pattern.


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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


Unless it had proved impossible to retrieve the Donegan cards, because by then the original recipient may have sold his collection. Though I think if this had been the case then On Kawara would have been entitled to make a recreation of the card, as I've already said he did extensively in Feb/March 1969. And let's not forget that On chose not to reproduce any of the presumed second 'one gaucho' cards. Instead, he stuck with his good friend and international art curator and dealer, Kasper König.
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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


Crafty, 45-year-old On Kawara in 1968. Sly old fox, On Kawara in 2006 making his limited edition (100 copies) book. I see the older artist shaking hands with his younger self, I really do.


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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


Should I try harder to work out who may have received the second 'one gaucho' card? Well, one possibility is Katsusuke Miyauchi. This is the enterprising Japanese individual who was exploring the Americas on his own, who came across On Kawara in Mexico City and was astonished to observe On's Date Painting process. Katsusuke observed On for a month or so before going on his way again. Katsusuke Miyauchi would become a writer, and he put down in print his observations. Can you imagine the following words coming from the mouth of the single gaucho?

'When I finally drifted south of the desert from the Arizona border to Mexico City, I met a human at a cheap hotel at the end of the field. The encounter was more accurate and appropriate to express in this way… At a point on Earth, about 19 degrees and 40 minutes north, latitude, and 99 degrees 10 minutes west, longitude, I met an alien-like earthling. When I entered the small stone room, a grey-painted canvas-like thing was placed on the table. The date was drawn on the surface in white Spanish: '6 APRIL, 68'.'

I should say in passing that '15 DIC, 68' was a Date Painting day as had 13 DIC. 68' had been. "Keep on, keeping on, On."

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


So what happened when Katsusuke rode off into the sunset? He tells us: 'On MAYO 30, 68, another day he was painting, I left Mexico City and headed north into the desert towards America. One day about 120 days later, a picture postcard arrived from Colombia in South America to me in Los Angeles. On the reverse side it was written with a rubber stamp as follows: I GOT UP AT 10.24A.M. ON KAWARA. Picture postcards were also sent one after another from Ecuador and Peru. A rubber stamp for the wake-up time of the day on any postcard it was written in. And then I lost contact.'

Now it might well be that On sent postcards from Buenos Aires to Katsusuke Miyauchi in Los Angeles, but that Katsusuke had moved on. The latter had no permanent address after all.

In going through the above I've nearly convinced myself that Katsusuke was the guy who got the lone gaucho postcard. So until I get evidence to the contrary, that's what I'm going to assume. Three recipients of gaucho postcards, then: Kasper König, Frank Donegan and Katsusuke Miyauchi. Now I feel I can move on…

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


In the 27-day period, On Kawara met Hiroko on all 27 days. I imagine they were sharing a bed, or at least a hotel room. The next most common name on the lists is Jose Padin, who was met 16 times. I don't think Jose Padin was a member of the art world, though the other three names that I'm about to mention were. On Kawara and Jose Padin as gauchos, then. Perhaps this was a joke that Takashi Hashimoto came up with early on the month. The names on the 'I MET' list on December 4 were as follows:

HIROKO HIRAOKA
JOSE PADIN
MARTIN MICHARVEGAS
CARLOS SILVA
TAKASHI HASHIMOTO
NINI RIVERO

Now Martin Micharvegas, Carlos Silva and Nini Rivero, were the other names that stand out from the 'I MET' lists in the period in question, cropping up on nine, seven and eight 'I MET' lists respectively. No one else comes close to these numbers except Takashi Hashimoto with his six appearances. Martin, Carlos and Nini were all practicing artists who had achieved some visibility in Buenos Aires. And if Takashi had pointed this out to On, it may have prompted some kind of show of loyalty towards Jose.

On: "Jose and me, we are brothers of the saddle."

Hiroko: "Gauchos!"

On: "Jose and me, we are gauchos. We love our horses and our horses love us."

As I mentioned, On got up early just once in this 27-day period. Immediately after Takashi left Buenos Aires. But the late nights set in again. In the period in question, On got up after ten but before 11, six times. He got up after 11 but before 12, 13 times. He got up after twelve but before one, six times. And he got up after one on a single occasion. Student lifestyle, or what? Or is this what's known as 'going gaucho'? Is this what the cowboy of the South American pampas is famous for? Feeling half-dead from lack of sleep by day? Constantly at risk of falling off the saddle?

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


You might think I'm neglecting 'I WENT' in all this. You may be right, so let's bring that in now. Here is the 'I WENT' for December 18:

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.


The red dot indicating where On GOT UP is at the top of the red circuit. It is not a good map as it doesn't suggest how grand this location was. The Hotel Gloria (red pin in the aerial shot below) was on the Avenue de Mayo, the road leading to a huge square, the Plaza de Mayo. Which was right in front of the presidential palace, Casa Rosada, that's the colossal pink stone building at the bottom of this Google aerial shot:

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Below is another view. Note again the red pin, marking On and Hiroko's hotel, and see how close it is to the Plaza de Mayo. On and Hiroko were right bang in the middle of a city of millions.

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Or look at it another way: just a couple of gauchos riding across the plain!

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


December 19. Let's do a full audit of 'I GOT UP', 'I WENT' and 'I MET'.

On Kawara GOT UP at 11.59am, which, one can't help thinking, was the same time as the President of Argentina arose from his slumbers and began work.

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.


On Kawara began his day laughing with Hiroko, then On and Hiroko carried on the laughter with Jose Padin, top gaucho. At some stage they hooked up with the art crowd, Nini, Carlos and Martin, and in doing so met Ines Gross only for the second time. Who was Ines? She was a painter and conceptual artist from Buenos Aires.

So how might that have fitted in with 'I WENT'? Well, let's take a look at the raw data:

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.


The above is quite a typical 'I WENT' for the period. Starting off at the hotel, there is circuit immediately to the left, as we look at the map, involving two or three stops. And there is a slightly more complex circuit to the right, involving two or three stops. Let's leave it at that for now. Though, if we're lucky, you will be becoming familiar with the layout of the city by osmosis.

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


December 20. Let's do another full audit to get you further acclimatised to the gaucho lifestyle at the heart of Buenos Aires:

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.


Let's say that those three and On met up in the morning, as a foursome. Not too early though, On had got up at 10.07 AM and it was a Date Painting day. So let's say he'd set down the background layers by noon. Out in the afternoon then, for a stroll towards Plaza de Mayo. It looks as if our gauchos are walking south, but the map is not orientated properly. In fact, they are walking east towards the presidential Plaza.

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.


On and party went round one side of the square and then took a walk along a long, narrow street going north, with some distinguished buildings along it. Maybe they were just out for a stroll, it doesn't look as if they were making any stops. The only signs of stops were to the right of the hotel itself, possibly for a meal at a restaurant. Yes, I imagine On, Hiroko, Jose and Nini eating dinner together.

I will take the opportunity to give a 'historical' perspective. On and Hiroko arrived in Buenos Aires from Quito on 24 October, 1968 and they didn't leave until January 16, except for single week, 26 November to December 3, spent in Montevideo, capital of nearby Uruguay. Two and a half months in Buenos Aires, more or less.

The first person On and Hiroko met in Buenos Aires was the poet and painter, Martin Michavergas, on October 25. They were staying at the San Antonio Hotel to begin with, but moved to the Gloria Hotel by the 29th, by which time they had also met Jose Padin, on the 26th, and Nini Rivero and Carlos Silva, on the 28th. In other words, within five days of arriving in Buenos Aires, On and Hiroko had improved their lodgings and got themselves a set of friends, both of which would see them through for the rest of their time in the city.

To begin with, in fact until the week's break in Uruguay, On sent out postcards of the usual tourist views of Buenos Aires. The president's palace was on three such cards, though the most recurring motif was a view of the Plaza de Republiqua with its obelisk. That stunning square is about the same distance from the Gloria Hotel as the Plaza de Mayo is, though 'I WENT' suggests that On and Hiroko did not go there often.

On November the 8th, On sent a topographical postcard to Joseph Kosuth, a card that is reproduced in the 2006 book, 'I GOT UP'. The unique thing about this postcard is that On stamped '13.104TH DAY' on it. He was telling his colleague that he had been alive for 13,104 days, which came to be the way he expressed his biography in all catalogues once he started exhibiting his Date Paintings.

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


This alone is enough for me to reconsider On Kawara's relationship with Joseph Kosuth. Dan Graham was consistently belittling of Kosuth, suggesting that he followed Graham around, and in particular followed him to On Kawara's studio in New York. Also, in a letter from Hiroko to Kasper König, there is the suggestion that Joseph Kosuth had followed On Kawara from New York to Mexico and was getting too close to On's ideas for comfort. Her actual words are much less accusatory than Dan Graham's were: I heard On had hot discussion with Joseph in Mexico City about manual and mechanical production. I know On was interested in mass media late 50s when he was in Japan. But as a result, good or bad, Joseph has become a little involved in On's new ideas and they both often talk very similar things.'

But the postcard of 8 November suggests camaraderie, as does the one that followed on November 25, the day before On and Hiroko travelled to Montevideo. The picture is of a bright red car, a Fiat Coupé, suggestive of happy, modern motoring:

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


Actually, a woman driving a car would have been a relatively new idea in Argentina at the time, a society far more macho than New York's. Is that why a tree seems to be falling on the car being driven by a red-headed woman? Red car, red hair: danger, danger! Better leave driving in Buenos Aires to the gentlemen of the plain, sweetheart. You know it makes sense.

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


Now where was I?

On December 21, On only met Hiroko. It was another Date Painting day, the fourth since getting back to Buenos Aires from Montevideo, and the subtitle of it suggests that the Apollo 8 mission was on his mind. The subtitle is in Spanish, of course, so let me put it this way:

First gaucho: "La cosmonave Apolo-8 se deshizo hoy de todas las trabas terrestres en la mayor aventura de la historia y condujo a sus tres tripulantes al espacio interplanetario en el primer vuelo humano hacia la luna."

Second gaucho: "The Apollo-8 spacecraft threw off all terrestrial fetters today in the greatest adventure in history and led its three crew members into interplanetary space on the first human flight to the moon."

Where did On and Hiroko go? They went on a circuit to the right of the hotel (as we look at the map), with several stops on the street they ended up in.

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.


The above circuit is similar to the one On embarked on on December 15, which was another Date Painting day and another day when On MET only Hiroko. :

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.


Below is a third map of the same general area. It's December 26, and again it is a day in which On only MET Hiroko. There were just five such days in the month, and three covered much the same ground.

zxhsyep0qe6nradqe8rtng_thumb_edc4 Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.

Let this single page stand for the five similar pages in the month of the gaucho:

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.


Back to December 21. I can picture On and Hiroko enjoying a nice meal together, discussing the Apollo 8 flight, then going back to the hotel where On finished his Date Painting. I've made that almost sound normal, as if everyone was Date Painting and sending out daily postcards and typing lists of the people they met and drawing maps of the streets they'd travelled. Not so. Another unforgettable day, it seems to me with the benefit of hindsight, lived with gaucho gusto.

But don't imagine I've forgotten about Joseph Kosuth. I'm even thinking he may have received the second 'one gaucho' cards.

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


Let me think this through. On got back from the week's trip to Montevideo, a time in which few people were MET and On took up Date Painting again. That is, he made three Dates in the week spent in Uruguay's capital after having made only a single Date Painting in over a month in Buenos Aires, from October 24 to November 26.

While in Buenos Aires, pre-break, he had sent the first card, a topographical one, to Kasper König and the second card to who? Well, Jospeh Kosuth got at least three and several more known individuals got singletons. But basically it's not known who received the majority of the second cards. Upon arriving back in Buenos Aires on December 3, Takeshi Hashimoto was in town, and On decided he would carry on sending cards of a non-topographical nature, as had been the card sent on the last day pre-break. That is, the much-reproduced card showing two gauchos that heads this essay.

As a continuance of On's idea, possibly egged-on by Takashi, On sent gaucho cards every day to Kasper König, alternating between one and two gauchos. And he sent the 'two gauchos' card every second day to Frank Donegan, and the 'one gaucho' card every day to Katsusuke Miyauchi or Joseph Kosuth or Dan Graham (who put them straight in the bin) or a combination of individuals unknown… (Blast, I thought I was making progress.)

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


I don't know where to go for further enlightenment. I feel I've taken this analysis as far as I can. But On Kawara isn't finished yet. I have to try and hang on in there.

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


24 December, 1968. A Date Painting day, thank goodness. And the subtitle tells us how the Apollo 8 mission was going. But it's in Spanish, so let's ask the gauchos:
First gaucho: "LA SUPERFICIE DE LA LUNA ES DE UN COLOR GRISACED QUE PARECE YESO Y ESTA SEMBRADA DE CRATERES."


Second gaucho: "THE SURFACE OF THE MOON IS A GREY COLOUR THAT LOOKS LIKE PLASTER AND IS SPOTTED WITH CRATERS."

24 Diciembre, 1968. Christmas Eve and On's birthday. Below is the circuit On walked with Hiroko.

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.


Now this is much the same circuit that was covered on December 14, the only other day not so far mentioned of the five (of 27) that On met no-one except Hiroko.

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation.


So I'm thinking that the place that they entered on the circuit, furthest to the left as we look at the map, was a fine restaurant.

This means that the five days in the 27-day period in question that On didn't meet anyone but Hiroko, were spent largely on one of two circuits. Either to the right or to the left of the Gloria Hotel.

Right, we're almost there. The finishing line is in sight…

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


The card that On sent on December 25 would have been received in the König household a few days later. Perhaps Ilka, Kasper's wife, fetched it from the hall.

Ilka: "Postcard from On."

Kasper: "Describe it."


Ilka: "A man on a horse. He's been up there since 11.41 AM and he badly wants helping back down to the ground."


Kasper: "Number?"


Ilka: "Two-hundred and thirty-one."


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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


Kasper takes the card into his possession.
 He has now got 231 cards, less a very few that were lost in the post. He values them greatly, and is intrigued by the gaucho business. The first 200-odd cards were of tourist sites, and now this fixation about men on horseback. What exactly did it mean?

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


December 27 was another Date Painting day. The third and last to be given an Apollo 8 subtitle.

First gaucho: "Exactement a la hora fijada la capsula Apolo-8 llevando a bordo a los 3 astronauts. Frank Borman, James A. Lovell y William A. Anders, toco las olas del Pacifico hoy a solo 5,000 metros del portaaviones de rescate Yorktown."

Second gaucho: "Exactly at the appointed time the Apollo-8 capsule carrying the 3 astronauts on board. Frank Borman, James A. Lovell and William A. Anders, touched the waves of the Pacific today just 5,000 meters from the rescue aircraft carrier Yorktown."

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


Ilka: "Postcard from On."

Kasper: "Describe it."

Ilka: "You know what, I don't think I need to."

Kasper: "Try."

Ilka: "A flying dream."

Kasper: "Number?"

Ilka: "Two-hundred and thirty-four."

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


Kasper takes the card into his hand. He thinks: 'On is with Hiroko. What a pair of astronauts. All is well with the world.'

Frank Donegan gets the second copy of the above card. He met On in May, 1968, before Hiroko had flown from New York to join On in Mexico. This partly explains why Frank thinks of the two gauchos as On and himself. Though later he would go on to suggest that Hiroko was On's 'brilliant shadow'.

Next day.

Ilka: "Postcard from On."
Kasper: "Describe it."


Ilka: "Ha-ha."

Kasper: "Number? Odd or even?"

Ilka: "Odd."

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.


Kasper takes the card into his hand. He thinks: 'On is on his own. Let's hope he is Date Painting.'

On remained in Buenos Aires until January 16. But he was done with the gaucho cards. He reverted to sending postcards of tourist sites to Kasper König and a second, unknown recipient. But, hang on minute. The card reproduced in 'I GOT UP' for December 31, 1968, is not the one sent to Kasper König. It's the following one which has had to be reconstructed, without picture side, as the original must have been lost:

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Reproduced thanks to the understanding of the One Million Years Foundation. Photo by Tama Art University via Michele Didier and Takashi Hiraide.



Then from the 1st of January to January 14, the card reproduced in the Michele Didier volume is the one that went to Kasper König, until January 15, 1969, when the card illustrated is another to Masayoshi Homma. Who was Masayoshi Homma? He was the head curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, and he organised a show of Picasso there in 1964. He was also an arts writer and two of his intriguing titles are The Retrospective Exhibition of Denchu Hirakushi, published in 1973; and The Posthumous Exhibition of Yasuo Kazuki, published in 1975. It strikes me as possible that this individual had been receiving the second card since December the fourth, 1968, and that it was none other than Masayoshi Homma that was in receipt of all the second 'one gaucho' cards.

Is there is a bin somewhere in Tokyo that to this day overflows with discarded postcards from On Kawara? In which case, take a bow of shame, Masayoshi Homma.



Acknowledgements

1) Thanks to Takeshi Hiraide and Tama Art University for reproducing 'I GOT UP', 'I WENT' and 'I MET' for the relevant period, December 1968.

2) Thanks to Michele Didier for publishing, in partnership with On Kawara, the 12-volume edition of 'I GOT UP' in 2008.

3) Thanks to One Million Years Foundation for keeping On Kawara's 'I GOT UP' log book locked up and out of sight. It is too soon for all of On's codes and secrets to be exposed to the world. Please continue to leave space for speculative fiction to flourish.