• Past

  • 2012.09.01 - 2012.10.28
    Beijing, China

John Cage (September 5, 1912-August 12, 1992), born in Los Angeles, USA, was a famous experimental music composer, musical theorist, writer and avant-garde artist of the 20th century. As an indispensable key figure in the history of American modern music, his uncertainties music, electronic music and non-standard instrument music have led the development of modern music. In the highly free artistic environment of America, he explored new possibilities of music unceasingly with his careful thought and unique behavior, and became the leader and seer in the avant-garde art field. As a representative figure of "chance" music, he was deeply influenced by far eastern philosophy, aesthetics, and especially Zen of Buddhist and The Book of Changes of China; he defined experimental music as an aimless thing that confirms life. Cage is a musician born in the humanistic background of America, of whom the thought and behavior are typically America style—pioneering, innovative and challenging tradition. In some ways, he initiated a new era, yet he completely destroyed music.

In John Cage's life, the remarkably original and forceful work which is also his most famous musical work should be his 4'33'' ; it was created for any kinds of musical instrument and any numbers of players, includes three chapters and the whole length is 4'33'' with not any notes on its score; the only indicated requirement is "silence". The meaning of this work was to make audiences listen to the silence during the time carefully and appreciate all sounds brought about in silence by chance. To experience the sounds of environment surpassed traditional musical experience and had brought musicology and performing aesthetics to a brand new field. This also represented an important view in his musical philosophy: the most fundamental element of music is not performing, but listening.

He was also a talented artist of visual art; art critic David Sylvester believed that Cage had "created the most beautiful sketch and print artworks of the 1980s."

September 5, 2012 is the 100th Anniversary of John Cage, Asian Art Works curated this unique group exhibition specifically to commemorate this greatest avant-garde artist of the 20th century.

Participating Artists

John Cage
Namjune Paik
Sincha Hong
Werner Sasse
Robert Rauschenberg
Dieter Jung
Youngkyun Lim

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