September 5, 2012 is the 100th birthday of John Cage. Like hardly anyone before him, Cage consistently posed anew the question of the connection of music with other fields of art and everyday life. He takes his place alongside Satie, Duchamp, Paik and Beuys as one of the great strategists and crossover artists who straddled the boundaries of music and art in the 20th century. Coinciding with documenta 13 in Kassel, the major interdisciplinary exhibition A House Full of Music at the Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt
focuses especially on these five key artists and present twelve fundamental strategies of music and art since 1900. The exhibition features fascinating as well as enlightening soundscapes, projections, objects, scores, paintings and installations by 110 visual artists, musicians and composers from Laurie Anderson to Robert Filliou, Anri Sala, Dieter Roth, Iannis Xenakis, and Frank Zappa. The composer Heiner Goebbels created a John Cage and Gertrude Stein inspired sound and video installation especially for the Water Reservoir.
After the nationally as well as internationally acclaimed interdisciplinary exhibitions Russia 1900. Art and Culture in the Empire of the Last Czars and Total Artwork Expressionism. Art, Film, Literature, Theater, Dance and Architecture from 1905-1925, the Institute Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt is staging its next ambitious, large-scale project, A House Full of Music. Strategies in Music and Art, from May 13 to September 9, 2012. This time, an entire century is presented in a fundamentally new way.
A House Full of Music uses a very different approach than those of previous Music and Art exhibitions of the last decades, most of which were concerned with synesthetic questions like How do pictures sound? or What color do sounds have? Past exhibitions focused either on sound art as a new hybrid genre, examining the cross-genre socio-cultural context of art and music, or concentrated on individual media like the phonographic record.
For the first time, at the Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt, the internal connections between music and art have been brought to light with epoch-transcending presentations of twelve powerful strategies in music and art: to record, to collage, to be silent, to destroy, to calculate, to roll the dice, to feel, to think, to believe, to furnish, to repeat, and to play. These strategies shaped and continue to shape the music as well as the art of the 20th and 21st centuries. These historical and contemporary approaches of music and art are featured in the exhibition at the Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt, side by side, in dynamic strategy spaces. A House Full of Music thereby offers genuine opportunities to (re)discover works of music and art, shedding new light on the manifold interconnections between the two disciplines and presenting thematic, formal, as well as individual perspectives.
The 100th birthday jubilee of John Cage, one of the most important composers and musical philosophers of the 20th century, marks the occasion for this large scale exhibition. Like hardly anyone before him, John Cage knocked down the boundaries of music, creating an opening into art and life. Along with Erik Satie, Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Beuys and Nam June Paik, Cage is one of the key figures of the exhibition, which bears the name of one of his compositions: A House Full of Music.
In honor of the pioneers Satie and Duchamp, a special Prologue to the exhibition has been dedicated to them. 110 artists, musicians and composers, from Nevin Aladag, Pierre Boulez and Miles Davis, to Brian Eno, Bruce Nauman, Steve Reich, and La Monte Young, sound out the twelve fundamental strategies of art and music of the 20th and 21st centuries in an exciting exhibition running the gamut of artistic and musical styles and media. Visitors are able to experience the at times challenging yet always vibrant spectrum of music and art in the 20th Century.
The composer, musical theater director and this years artistic director of the Ruhr Triennale, Heiner Goebbels, realized a sound and video installation inspired by John Cage and Gertrude Stein especially for the historical Water Reservoir beneath the Exhibition Hall Mathildenhöhe. Genko-an 64287 isbeing presented on 1000 square meters throughout the two water storage chambers.
The sculpture studios of the Artists Colony Museum have been transformed, for the duration of the exhibition, into a Cage movie theatre featuring two auditoriums: The 1966 artist film Sound??, pairing John Cage with the jazz saxophonist Rashaan Roland Kirk in a creative dialogue, runs in a Black Box. In the neighboring White Cube, Nam June Paiks cinematicartistic homage from 1973/76, A Tribute to John Cage, is being shown.