Image: John Cage

John Cage A Cross-disciplinary Music Performance In Three...

16 April 2019
Salzburg Villa Kast

Join us in our Salzburg gallery for a music performance in collaboration with MusicArt.

To coincide with the exhibition Robert Rauschenberg: Borealis 1988-92 and John Cage: Ryoanji, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac and MusicArt present a Salzburg premiere of a musical performance inspired by Robert Rauschenberg’s collaborations with the pioneering avant-garde American composer John Cage. Co-created and performed by pianist Annie Yim with poet Kayo Chingonyi and composer Raymond Yiu, this Conceptual Concert in Three Acts is framed by the piano music of Cage, including The Seasons (1947) and Winter Music (1957), alongside an installation of sound and spoken dialogue. 

The final act of this cross-disciplinary concert is a staging of Cage’s iconic piece, 4’33” (1952). The performance multiplies artistic roles and dissolves boundaries in homage to Cage and Rauschenberg. Beyond their artworks on view at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg, the words of Cage and Rauschenberg too have inspired this concert-installation.

"Our new work focuses on dialogues – musical and spoken, historical and contemporary, space and time, visual and aural interactions. Intended to be cumulative and cyclical, the concert-installation comprises unexpected combinations of influences and traditions, uncovering themes in Rauschenberg’s Borealis that have been incorporated into our process. Fragments, memory and integration are motifs that resonate throughout the piece, while music and words are woven, layered and juxtaposed as highly structured sound events." Annie Yim, Pianist & Founder of MusicArt


“I recognize Rauschenberg as myself, as if we were the same person. We do not even have to explain things to one another...” John Cage, quoted in Conversing with Cage by Richard Kostelanetz (1987)

Robert Rauschenberg was a prolific collaborator, inspired by the shared creative process of working with close friends, including the painters Jasper Johns and Cy Twombly, choreographer Merce Cunningham and composer Cage. “That's why I like dance, music, theatre, and that's why I like printmaking, because none of these things can exist as solo endeavours”, Rauschenberg told Artnews in 1977, “…the best way to know people is to work with them, and that's a very sensitive form of intimacy”. Rauschenberg first met Cage in the early 1950s; Cage was already established as a leading figure of the post-war avant-garde, while Rauschenberg was just embarking on his artistic career. Both were at the centre of an intimate circle of artists who came together at the experimental Black Mountain College. While there, Rauschenberg participated in Cage’s Theatre Piece #1 in 1952, an experimental multi-media performance spontaneously staged in the dining hall. Later credited as the first Happening, it allowed poetry, music, dance, and film to be freely incorporated, featuring Rauschenberg’s White Paintings (1951) suspended from the ceiling. The monochrome White Paintings – in which Rauschenberg sought to create works that appeared untouched by human hands – served as an inspiration for Cage’s most famous composition, 4’33’’. “The White Paintings were airports for the lights, shadows, and [dust] particles”, said Cage. In the same spirit, the score for 4’33’’ instructs the performer not to play their instrument for any length of time. The piece is in three movements, which forms a frame around the sounds of the environment. In the same spirit, the score for4’33’’ instructs the performer not to play their instrument for any length of time. A spirit of radical experimentation marked the friends’ continuing collaborative work and their influence across the worlds of visual arts, poetry, dance, and music is still palpable today.


About MusicArt 

Founded in London in 2015 by pianist Annie Yim, MusicArt is a concept for creating and collaborating across art forms with music at the heart of each project. New works in visual arts, poetry, contemporary dance, and music have been commissioned and premiered at major art galleries and concert halls in London and Berlin. In 2017 MusicArt was invited to deliver a keynote address at an international, multidisciplinary conference at the University of Surrey by Annie Yim, in conjunction with artist Christopher Le Brun, President of the Royal Academy of Arts. Through new dialogues and performance installations, each artist-led project aims to explore shared aesthetics in unique historical and contemporary contexts.

Atmospheric image Atmospheric image
Atmospheric image Atmospheric image
Atmospheric image Atmospheric image