(R3) (where R=Ryoanji)

Print
1983 (printed and published)
(R3) (where R=Ryoanji) thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

John Cage (1912-1992), one of the most experimental and influential musicians and visual artists of the 20th century, became interested in Eastern philosophies, especially Zen, during the 1940s. He began applying principles of chance to both his musical and his visual art. E.1487 and 1488-1984 are two dry-point engravings from a suite made following a trip to the Ryoanji Rock Garden in Kyoto, Japan, in the early 1980s. This garden, according to the classic travel guide Nagel, 'represents the quintessence of the Zen doctrine and the art which it fostered'. Cage used 15 rocks from a group of 16 collected from different parts of the world and drew around each of them onto the copper plate with a dry-point needle in various positions determined by chance operations dictated by the I Ching ('Book of Changes'), the ancient Chinese book of divination. The letter 'R' in the title stands for the number of rocks used in making each image. For (R3) he employed R to the power of three to produce 3,375 dry-point outlines.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Dry-point
Brief Description
Drypoint by John Cage, entitled 'Where R = Ryoanji'. American, 1983
Physical Description
landscape format print of an abstract linear pattern following circular motions across the printing plate.
Dimensions
  • Plate height: 17.6cm
  • Plate width: 53.4cm
Style
Production typeLimited edition
Copy Number
9/25
Marks and Inscriptions
  • John Cage '83 (Signature; date; lower right, just below plate mark; pencil)
  • (R3) (where R=Ryoanji) (picture title; lower left corner; pencil)
  • 9/25 (Maker's identification; lower left corner; pencil)
Production
Reason For Production: Retail
Subject depicted
Place Depicted
Summary
John Cage (1912-1992), one of the most experimental and influential musicians and visual artists of the 20th century, became interested in Eastern philosophies, especially Zen, during the 1940s. He began applying principles of chance to both his musical and his visual art. E.1487 and 1488-1984 are two dry-point engravings from a suite made following a trip to the Ryoanji Rock Garden in Kyoto, Japan, in the early 1980s. This garden, according to the classic travel guide Nagel, 'represents the quintessence of the Zen doctrine and the art which it fostered'. Cage used 15 rocks from a group of 16 collected from different parts of the world and drew around each of them onto the copper plate with a dry-point needle in various positions determined by chance operations dictated by the I Ching ('Book of Changes'), the ancient Chinese book of divination. The letter 'R' in the title stands for the number of rocks used in making each image. For (R3) he employed R to the power of three to produce 3,375 dry-point outlines.
Collection
Accession Number
E.1487-1984

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record createdMarch 14, 2003
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