On the 29 August 1952 the American concert pianist David Tudor walked on stage at Woodstock, New York as part of a recital of contemporary piano music. The audience saw him sit at the piano and, to mark the beginning of the performance, close the keyboard lid. To complete the first movement he opened it again. He repeated the action three times in total. The work, titled 4’33” by experimental composer John Cage takes the form of four minutes and thirty-three seconds of ‘silence’ set in three movements. Inspired by his interest in Eastern philosophy, and the abstract minimal paintings of artist Robert Rauschenberg, this work by Cage remains one of his most controversial avant-garde compositions.
On the 11 December 2016, at PIFO Gallery, Beijing and in response to an exhibition of works by the artist Wang Jian, Italian pianist Giorgio Fortunato will restage Cage’s seminal work.
Wang Jian’s exhibition, titled nothingness was not brings together a decade of work focusing on nothingness, absence and the Void. Like Cage, Wang Jian cites Zen as a foundation stone to his practice and many of Wang Jian's large-scale paintings carry an almost deafening silence that bridges time and links Eastern and Western cultures, making a bond between the work of the 20th century American composer and this contemporary Chinese artist.
The performances will be followed by a discussion between the artist and the performer moderated by Dayu Yang, Co-Director of PIFO Gallery.