Art and Being in the Garden of Ryōan-ji

Southwest Ambulatory
February 5–June 23, 2019



The dry landscape garden at the Ryōan-ji Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan, inspired artists from the 1950s onward. For avant-garde artists like John Cage and Takahiko Iimura, the garden became a focus for artistic interrogations of random chance, mindfulness, and perception. For Japanese printmakers Saitō Kiyoshi, Sekino Junichirō, and Ray Morimura, the garden’s minimalist geometry lent itself to works rooted in pure modernist abstraction, which downplayed any religious or philosophical content. The exhibition features a recording of a composition by John Cage performed by students from Oberlin’s Conservatory of Music.

Organized by Kevin R.E. Greenwood, Joan L. Danforth Curator of Asian Art.

Image:
Top:
John Cage (American, 1912–1992)
R 2 [superscript] 1 [subscript] (Where R=Ryoanji), 1983
Etching
Friends of Art Fund, 1983.29.1

Bottom:
Sekino Junichirō 関野準一郎 (Japanese, 1914–1988)
The Stone Garden, ca. 1965
Color woodblock print
Gift of Dr. Sanford L. Palay (OC 1940), 1999.3.27