“Whether I make them or not, there are always sounds to be heard and all of them are excellent.” ― John Cage

During the 1960’s John Cage held a huge part in organising a thought process and movement in which a chance-induced code was systematically used as a compositional method for music production.

Most famous for his work 4’33’’, where on a summers eve in August 1952 a friend and pianist David Tudor approached a piano in a concert hall in New York, sitting before the piano for four minutes and thirty three seconds, with Cage instructing all performers not to make any intentional sounds.

Audience attention became focused on the ambient sounds filling the space with silence, but silence was something Cage had come to realise didn’t exist.

After visiting the anechoic room at Harvard University in an echoless engineered space to attempt to attain silence Cage heard…
“…two sounds, one high pitch, one low. Afterwards I asked the engineer in charge why, if the room was so silent, I had heard two sounds. He said, ‘Describe them’. I did. He said, ‘The high one was your nervous system in operation. The low one was your blood in circulation.” (Cage, 1958, cited in Cage, 2010, p.134)

So as long as there’s blood in our veins and life in our hearts, our souls will exist playing to the rhythm and sound of our own existence. It’s time to sit back and listen.

Cage, J. (2010) A Year from Monday: New Lectures and Writings. Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press.


Asides from thinking it must have been a joy to stretch those curvaceous cloud canvases there’s a serious ethereal edge to the sponged pigment floating on the surface to Rondinone’s Cloud paintings. Titled after the dates produced the Cloud paintings lift the Mountain sculptures into a hyper-landscape. Stacked and painted in a coat of day-glo colours the rocks form towers poised to topple and are lit with a neon luminosity grounded by concrete plinths.

Shaped by nature there’s a touch of the haptic in the linear Waterfall sculptures. Strung out in hand modelled clay and cast in aluminium the fluid form rises and falls in the space, cutting a thin line through the gallery and closing the space into sectioned areas for viewers to marvel at the spiralling fountain forms like tourists at the Trevi fountains.

Grounded by natural phenomena the works hover as if in a state of metamorphosis, the tension in the varying weights of the works is dissolved in a dialogue dictating spatial relationships and the viewer’s negotiation of the gallery space. Like a lost wanderer in the landscape the viewer navigates Rondinone’s works walking around the Mountains and under the Waterfall guided by a clear blue sky.

Ugo Rondinone: Clouds + Mountains + Waterfalls runs until the 24th October, 2015 at Sadie Coles, Kingly Street – for more information click here.