In today’s digitized world, silence is increasingly elusive. For composer John Cage, the absence of sound was not merely elusive, it was impossible. His groundbreaking composition 4’33” contained no actual music, but instead called attention to the ambient sounds surrounding the performance and its audience. He asserted “there is always something to see, something to hear.” On the occasion of Cage’s hundredth birthday, Silence presents nearly a century of modern and contemporary art and film to examine the spiritual, existential, and political aspects of silence.
Co-organized by the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) and The Menil Collection in Houston, Silence presents a broad range of works, including iconic pieces by Joseph Beuys, Giorgio de Chirico, Marcel Duchamp, René Magritte, Christian Marclay, Robert Rauschenberg, Doris Salcedo, Andy Warhol, and many other leading artists. Ranging from uncanny to incantatory to experiential, the works on view are not all without sound, but all invoke silence to shape space or consciousness. The film program, which boasts works by Ingmar Bergman, Stan Brakhage, Maya Deren, and Nam June Paik, among others, traces the use of silence and sound in experimental cinema, from the tradition of silent films, to the malleable use of sound, to works that seek to unify the source of both image and sound.
List of Artists and Filmmakers
Rebecca Baron, Ingmar Bergman, Joseph Beuys, Manon de Boer, Stan Brakhage, Marcel Broodthaers, John Cage, Pat Collins, Maya Deren, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Giorgio de Chirico, Ingar Dragset, Marcel Duchamp, Michael Elmgreen, Douglas Goodwin, Philip Gröning, Tehching Hsieh, Warner Jepson, Jennie C. Jones, Jacob Kirkegaard, Rudy Lemcke, René Magritte, Mark Manders, Christian Marclay, Darrin Martin, Van McElwee, Robert Morris, Kurt Mueller, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik, Amalia Pica, Robert Rauschenberg, Steve Roden, Robert Russett, Doris Salcedo, Tino Sehgal, Semiconductor, Barry Spinello, Stephen Vitiello, Andy Warhol, Scott Wolniak, Martin Wong.