about a postcard about On Kawara, by Mark Pawson
I learnt about On Kawara's work when I was 14 or 15, in one of the art
books I borrowed from Warrington Library, during
trips there with my Dad*. I don't remember which one, but the book
I have the strongest memory of
is the one from MoMA with the
full-colour printed, hinged metal cover.
- The Machine as seen at the
end of the Mechanical Age, G. K. Pontus Hulten, 1968.
In 2000 I wanted to get a version of the standard adjustable time and
date rubber stamp, shown above, made to my own design.
This was more complicated than I'd imagined.
I spoke to a couple of
rubberstamp companies who said they could only put customised text
on a small part of the stamp, and not the whole of the print area.
My solution was to buy an the off-the-shelf time & date stamp, then
create the artwork for my own design to the exact measurements of
stamp, get this made up as a rubber stamp, and
then peel off the rubber
dial, text and arrow from the original stamp and replace them with the
meticulously scalpel-trimmed components of the custom made stamp.
I now had my very own adjustable
This adjustable stamp was intended as a self-contained, quick and easy
method to use each day to
reply to anything that came across my desk or
through the letterbox, and reflects my feelings after several extremely
active years in the the International Postal Art Network. It obviously
echoes or mimics official and institutional use of
rubber stamps and to a
lesser extent, maybe almost subconsciously, refer to On Kawara's 1970's
which had both a short message and the recipients
addresses rubber stamped.
When I heard of On Kawara's death, it felt highly appropriate
to use this rubber stamp to make a tribute and homage to him.
Colour, easy, black ink.
Date, slightly more complicated as his family did not officially release
the date of his death, but this stamp has to have a date right across the
The date used, 29 June 2014, comes from
Next problem, the stamp has my name on it quite prominently, and for
this postcard it just doesn't belong there:- solution peel it off replace with
the small pointy arrow that came with the original stamp and then
'On Kawara' added with a moveable-type rubber stamp.
Next issue, on the rotating scale, I'd decided to alternate emotive sound
effects, and measurements in percentages, so zero is represented not by
numbers, but by the cartoon sound effect 'Zzzz'- but the subject is dead
not asleep, and
0% is the only appropriate measurement, achieved here
dialing 10% and then painstakingly blanking out the '1'.
Edition size ≤ the number of days since On Kawara died,
dated sequentially with a date stamp on the reverse left.
My signature-in-a-triangle stamp is added on the reverse of the card, top
and centre, precisely where famous UK picture postcard companies,
J Arthur Dixon and John Hinde, place their logos.
Bamforth & Co. also
use a reversed out name-in-a-triangle logo, on the only one of their
postcards I can immediately find it's LHS, not central.
Mark Pawson, 21 September 2014.
* Also the same time and location where I first used a photocopier.
** In a mailorder catalogue of the time I offered
'Your very own INFORMATION OVERLOAD-O-METER'.
for sale No takers, no enquiries.