ON KAWARA span> at the Power Plant (231 Queens Quay West), to March 5. $4, stu/srs $2, Wednesday 5-8 pm free. 416-973-4949. Rating: NNNNN
If, like me, you find the arrival of the back half of this decade to be a horrific shock, then this show's step outside the minutia of daily life is for you.
Rather than let them flit past, On Kawara has meditated on each day for nearly four decades, unfailingly producing a painting of the date.
Canvases vary in size and colour, but their shape, positioning and the font of letters and numbers remain meticulously consistent. Lining the walls chronologically, this collection of the Today Series consists of one or more Sundays from every year since 1966. Each small, stark black or blue-black rectangle reminds us of our mortality.
Extending the notion, in an adjoining room 140 or so telegrams Kawara sent to friends and acquaintances relay the simple message "I am still alive." The quiet urgency and awareness in the work becomes clear when you imagine a future show of this body of work on display after the artist's death, when it is finally complete.
The third part of the show consists of two simply related projects of enormous proportions, in which Kawara has taken into account human existence in general. One is a 10-volume set of large black books in which he has typed out every year for the past million years, ending in 1969. The other began in 1980 as he typed out every year for the next million years from 1999.
Readings of this work are being performed every Sunday for the duration of the show, and have been ongoing since it was first shown in 1993. So far they've reached 27,000 AD, and at this rate a complete reading will take 400 years.
Leave time to also take in the incredible, moving video piece La Passion De Jeanne d'Arc (Rozelle Hospital) by Javier Telléz , in which 12 women psychiatric patients expose the barbaric nature of their institutionalization.