Monday, 30 August 2010

Dialogues with Drawing: John Cage

River Rocks and Smoke No.1 (1990) Watercolour on Smoked Paper

Hayward touring exhibition, Every Day is a Good Day: The Visual Art of John Cage is the first comprehensive survey of Cage's visual works. Already celebrated for the musical notations used for his compositions, Every Day is a Good Day allows the audience to appreciate the prints and drawings Cage produced over a 15 year period at the Crown Point Press in San Francisco and at the Mountain Lake Workshop in Virginia.

Taking inspiration from Zen and the I-Ching, Cage used the same random chance procedures in his drawing practice as he did when composing. He would devise the aesthetic structure of a drawing by taking rocks from a river and numbering them. To define their position on the paper, he would use a computer programme to produce answers to the questions of which rock to use and where to place it. The exhibition itself is hung using such a technique. The curators asked a list of questions to a computerised version of the I-Ching to determine where the works should go within the gallery. The appropriation of this philosophy allows the exhibition to fully compliment Cage's work as one of the most influential composers, writers and artists of the latter half of the 20th Century.

Every Day is a Good Day is at the Baltic, Newcastle until Sept 5 and continues at Kettles Yard, Cambridge 25th Sept - 14th Nov.

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