Sandback was one of many artists who came of age in the 1960s owning a copy of Cage’s first book, Silence (1961). While the title refers to the musical composition 4’33”, the book is a far–reaching compendium of Cage’s lectures and writings, with only fleeting reference to scores or actual performances. It repeatedly notes how chance and structure play intimate roles in our perception of the world in general. Sandback was engaged by this duality:
The inherent mysticism resides in persisting in wanting to make something as factual as possible and having it turn out just the other way—the immediate positive engagement with the way situations always transcend our perceptions of them—the realization that the simplest and most comfortable of perceptions are shadows.
Sandback explored what he termed “pedestrian space” by inserting simple constructions of cord or yarn to frame architectural environments. These taut planes and linear interventions are anchored by the structure of the gallery in which they are installed, but the artist’s sculptures imply, rather than delineate, form through the interactive experience of the artwork.
Gallery label from There Will Never Be Silence: Scoring John Cage’s 4’33”, October 12, 2013–June 22, 2014.