John Cage: Every Day is a Good Day (4 stars)

A testament to Cage’s philosophy on art and sound

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John Cage: Every Day is a Good Day

River, Rocks and Smoke

With a title derived from a 300-year-old Zen Buddhist proverb Every Day is a Good Day is a testament to Cage’s philosophy on art and sound. As previously exercised by the curators at the BALTIC Centre, Newcastle, the show’s large collection of some 50 watercolours, prints and press-works were selected and hung according to a computerised programme version of the I Ching, or The Book of Changes, which Cage made constant reference to within his work. It was this 1000-year-old Chinese book’s method of divination and moral guidance that caught Cage’s attention in the 1940s and 50s when he was first experimenting with his music and compositions.

As with his musical experiments, the collected prints on display owe much to his Zen outlook on life, in that they are a projection of ‘a spirit of acceptance rather than of control’. With expressive prints playing subtly with a technique of tracing rocks with feathers and brushes or simple inky foot prints on burnt paper backgrounds, Cage’s jovial manner with his medium uses the computerised version of the I Ching to abandon his decision making process completely. His acceptance of the results is a modern and festive homage to the ancient Enso tradition of Zen masters: the painting of a perfect enlightened circle.

For the duration of the exhibition there will be live performances at various venues through Glasgow. Visit www.glasgow.ac.uk/concerts for more information.

Hunterian Gallery, Glasgow, until Sat 2 Apr

John Cage: Every Day is a Good Day

  • 4 stars

Better known as a minimalist musician, this showing of the genre-spanning composer, writer and painter Cage's abstract prints, watercolours and drawings is the first major exhibition to examine the entire range of his visual practice.

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