John Cage. The Silent Presence


28.12.2012 - 27.01.2013

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Program: [Context of the visual]

Place: National Centre for Contemporary Arts, the small hall

Curator: [Vitaly Patsyukov]

Coordinators: [Maria Punina], [Aliya Berdigaliyeva]

Cage Conducting in Asia

Organizer: National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA)
Co-organizers: Merce Cunningham Foundation (USA), John Cage Foundation (USA), Ekaterina Culture Foundation
Partners: Margarete Roeder Gallery (New York), Edition Peters Publishing House
With the support of: the US Embassy in Russia, the U.S.–Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, Gayane Khachaturyan International Foundation, German Titov Library

Presented artists: Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, Joan Logue, Frank Scheffer
Andrew Culver

Press show: December 27, 18:00
Opening: December 27, 19:00


John Cage is a famous American composer, philosopher, poet, musicologist and artist, who pioneered aleatory music, electronic music and unconventional use of musical instruments. Cage radically changed the perception of music: he was interested in “non-composition” technologies built on the Buddhist principle of non-doing, on using regular noises. John Cage’s ideas largely defined the development of not only music but also visual culture of the post-war avant-garde – representatives of Neo-Dada, Fluxus and New Conceptualism have found the source for their own experiments in his aesthetics. Today critics call Cage one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century.


John Cage. The Silent Presence exhibition project, implemented by NCCA in the year of the composer’s centenary in collaboration with the John Cage Foundation (USA), is part of a wider international celebratory program.

The exhibition at the Ekaterina Culture Foundation is dedicated to the influence of John Cage’s ideas and experiments on artistic culture.

The main part of the project in NCCA is dedicated to the works of Cage and his closest associates – choreographer Merce Cunningham and artist Robert Rauschenberg. In the center of the exhibition are the scores and video footage of John Cage’s program piece 4’33’’ (4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence), performed by contemporary musicians.

Moreover the exhibition presents Cage’s graphic works – the Sevendaydiary series, Stones, pages from the Mushroombook; visual scores of Fontanamix, Ryoanji, MusicofCarillon and others together with their audio recordings and performances. And last, but not least: a reconstruction of John Cage’s legendary action, Lecture on the Weather (1975). Besides Cage’s works, the audience will also see photographs and documentaries about him.

Photo credit and copyright: Richard Avedon
John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg

John Cage’s art has yet to be deeply studied in Russia. John Cage. The Silent Presence project is the first attempt to present the multiple facets of the composer’s personality, as well as create a space where the idea of coexistence of contrasting worlds and equality of all art forms can become reality.

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