“Ta chi ta sa” Confronting Barnett Newman in Washington D.C.

September 15, 2022
Venue & Cooperation
National Gallery of Art, East Build. Gallery 615b Washington, D.C., USA
The Stations of The Cross (1958-1966) series of 14 works Magna, oil, acrylic, Duco / on canvas
w152.1~153.7cm x h197.8~198.7cm
Be II (1961-1964) acrylic and oil on canvas w204.5cm x h183.5cm
Still Photography Shooting
Kenichi Takeda
Kaori Kaneda (undaliy gate)
Copyright credit
©2022 Barnett Newman Foundation / ARS, New York / JASPAR, Tokyo E4626
Person in charge
Harry Cooper / Senior Curator and Head of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art
Emily Ann Francisco / Curatorial Assistant, Modern and Contemporary Art
ArtWitness on the day
Emily Ann Francisco
Isabella Bulkeley /Public Affairs Specialist, Communications Office
Project Motivation
As the third step, I will move to the United States, the hometown of Newman, who created and led the abstract expressionism. It was scheduled to be held in 2020, the year of the 50th anniversary of Newman's death, but it was postponed due to the influence of COVID-19. I have been interacting with the National Gallery of Art since 2019, and official permission was granted in January 2020. I will carry out the performance there and record it with videos and photos.

The work "The Stations of the Cross" is a series of 14 paintings of almost the same size (190 cm x 152 cm), all of which are simple and stoic paintings with monochrome surfaces, vertical lines, and a little faint texture of the brush. Although the title seems to be religious, Newman himself describes this series as "the story of each man's agony", "an unanswerable cry ", and a story about all ordinary people*. Isn't there any story of suffering for every individual in 2020 and 2021? Coincidentally, the word "station" comes from the Latin "stare" meaning "stand", and it is also part of the message that Newman put in the title.
Newman insisted, "my zip does not divide my paintings. ... but it unites the thing. It creates a totality."* Is it possible to confront the space surrounded by the fourteen paintings of "The Stations of the Cross" displayed on the four large walls of the exhibition room, associating deeply myself with each painting? Is it possible to create the wholeness of the space by standing in the middle position surrounded by the series of the works? It must be a very interesting challenge what I can show to Americans, if I can draw an auxiliary line for today's interpretation of this universal work, after 50 years of his death.
* Quoted from the brochure of the special exhibition "Barnett Newman : The Stations of the Cross, Lema Sabachthani " 2015
(May 2021)
Ms. Emily Ann Francisco : Museum staff
I really enjoyed your performance. It was wonderful to see the movements in real time, in the space. It was also exciting to see a performance-based response to Newman's work.
In the past, many Christian groups and communities have organized small prayer gatherings or meditations in Newman's Stations of the Cross during Good Friday and other days of Holy Week leading up to Easter. They find the space to be very meditative and meaningful to their religious practices.
2 layers of horizontal , I drew and sent to Mr. Harry (April 2022)
SketchTwo Horizontal