On Kawara was born in 1933 in Japan. He died in 2014 in New York.
For over five decades, On Kawara created paintings, drawings, books, and recordings that examined chronological time and its function as a measure of human existence. His artistic practice was characterized by its meditative approach to concepts of time, space, and consciousness. His epic project, One Million Years, is a monumental series of twenty-four works comprising One Million Years [Past], which was dedicated to "all those who have lived and died," and One Million Years [Future], addressed to "the last one." The Past volumes, noting each year over an entire millennium from 998,031 BC, were started in 1970 and took two years to complete, while the Future years, begun in 1980, were written over the span of eighteen years and finish at 1,001,997 AD. Together the volumes make up 2,000,000 years.