John Cage: The Ryoanji series

Inspired by a visit to Japan’s most famous Zen garden of The Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto, and it’s 16th century rock garden consisting of carefully raked pebbles with 15 rocks arranged seemingly at random. Cage devoted himself to drawings and prints addressing the aesthetic order of the ‘complex’ that is revered in Japan as a perfect depiction of nature. As with all of his late visual artistic endeavours, Cage developed chance procedures for each compositional action in the making of these works.

For example, in choosing and positioning the stones that would be circled by the artists pencil on the paper, or in choosing which graphite density to use. Each drawing involved choosing and locating stones at an I – Ching specified point on a grid layed over the paper.

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