3 Coins 64 Times
by Anthony Stephenson
John Cage used "The Book of Changes (I Ching)" - a fortune telling
game that started off using three yarrow sticks and then later three coins -
as a method of composition, he was expanding on a trend in 20th century modernism
that employed chance. Perhaps the most notorius example of this being Jackson
Pollock's expansion of the surrealist's "automatic drawing" into his
signature "drip paintings". These attempts at systematizing the ineffable
were different than Andy Warhol's obsessive depictions of the dollar bill whose
near manic repetitiveness were perhaps echoed later in the various works by
Allan McCollum. As a student, decades ago, I asked Chris Burden what was the
overarching theme of his work, and, without any pretension, he simply replied
that he would try to think of "What Can Be Done". But as Frederic
Jameson pointed out in his book on Postmodernism, the "...alarming disjunction
point between the body and it's built environment ... can itself stand as the
symbol and analogon of ... the incapacity of our minds, at least at present,
to map the great global multinational and decentered communicational network
in which we find ourselves caught as individual subjects." Indeed, what
can be done?
Representation of Change
2011, 2012 Anthony Stephenson
acrylic on canvas panels 6" x 6" ea.
Available in reproduction.