Mountains Are Again Mountains: The Zen Spirit in John Cage’s Visual Art
美國前衛作曲家約翰‧凱吉（John Cage, 1912-92）是二戰後，在西方藝術界極具影響力的精神領袖。由於深受東方禪學影響之故，他不僅重新定義音樂，開啟音樂的各種可能性，又透過解放聲音、視覺、詩詞、舞蹈等領域的潛能，打破各種藝術型態的疆界，也模糊了生活與藝術的界限。凱吉從1978年開始到去世為止，從事版畫、水彩與素描等創作，構成他近千件視覺藝術作品的資產。作者認為凱吉生命最後約十年的視覺藝術作品，集中地體現了禪的某些精神，是二戰結束以來，東學西漸重要的面向之一。
American avant-garde composer John Cage (1912-92) is a spiritual guru in the Western art field after World War II. Under the influence of Oriental Zen, he not only redefines music and opens up various possibilities of music, but also breaks the boundaries of various art forms by liberating the potential of sound, visual art, poetry as well as dance, and blurs the border lines of life and art. From 1978 to his death, Cage was engaged in the creation of prints, watercolors, and sketches, which formed the assets of nearly one thousand visual art works. The author believes that Cage’s visual art works in his last ten years truly reflect the spirit of Zen in a concentrated manner. It is one of the most important aspects of Oriental wisdom westward since the end of World War II.
Through a basic understanding of Zen aesthetics, this article firstly sets forth the connection between visual art and Zen connotation, and then enters the contextual description of Cage’s important works. The characters of the works are examined and some of them are annotated as an echoing to the Sino-Japanese classical Zen paintings in order to demonstrate the progression of Cage’s works from the state of “Mountains are not Mountains” to “Mountains are again Mountains.” The author proposes that Cage started from the Ryoanji series with meditation exercises with some good effect. Then he proceeded to the witty delight of the Fire as well as EninKa series, the leisurely flowing of the New River Watercolors series, and finally the solitude and desolation of the Without Horizon series. These works are the salvation and bliss that Cage sought in purposeful purposelessness and is an amiable way to approach Zen for viewers.