SILENT LISTEN: The Tao of Piano…

An invitation to visual artists

Composer and pianist Sam Richards, who performed at the Arts Centre each Sunday in October 2022, accompanied by static images and designs projected onto the cinema screen, is currently working on 81 compositions for Chinese symbol for The Waypiano, each inspired by one of the chapters/meditations of the Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu (c.400bc).
Sam will perform his 10-hour-or-so musical interpretation of these nebulous, quasi abstract verses on Saturday 26 August 2023 at Ashburton Arts Centre, for most of the day.
While he plays, the words of the verses will be simultaneously projected onto the screen for the benefit of the audience who may bring their own interpretations to them as well as listening to Sam’s musical ones.
We would like to present a visual element as a separate exhibition in the Arts Centre’s East Gallery, composed of pictures/images created by any artists who would like to respond to a text or texts of the Tao Te Ching. These works will form an exhibition in the that space one week before Sam’s performance, and remain on show for a second week after it (exact dates tbc).
In this way, three different types of responses to the Tao Te Ching will be created: by Sam; by the individuals who make up the audience; and by the artists.
We are inviting any visual artists who are interested in this project to create works inspired by or related to the Tao Te Ching between now and Saturday 12th August, which should provide ample time for the exhibition to be set up.

Conditions of entry:

  1. All works submitted will remain the physical and intellectual property of the artist and are to be collected asap after the exhibition.
  2. Ashburton Arts Centre will endeavour to take reasonable care, although the work will not be covered by our insurance. [We’re looking into whether it’s possible to get insurance that will cover submitted art works at an affordable cost; if this is something that would be essential for you to consider taking part, do let us know]
  3. Submission will give Ashburton Arts Centre the right, but not the obligation, to:
    • publicly exhibit the works during the period specified above, with no admission being charged;
    • take photographs of the work and include these, suitably attributed, in printed and digital marketing materials, including but not limited to: putting them on posters, websites, press releases, emails;
    • with the artist’s agreement, and at a price specified by them, offer the works for sale to exhibition visitors – in the event of any sale, 90% of the value would be paid to the artist, and 10% retained as a commission by Ashburton Arts Centre – work submitted may be NFS (not for sale);
  4. Works should be submitted in a state suitable to be attached to the hanging system installed in the East Gallery (ie D-rings or similar that can be hung on one or more hooks, on one or more sliding wires which are attached to a rail near the top of the wall)

Further information

  • The hanging area is approximately 10m long by 4m high on each side of the gallery, with doors and windows occupying some of this space – while we don’t wish to specify any minimum or maximum size constraints, size might be a factor in deciding whether to include any work; the gallery walls are approx 1.8m apart with a rail on both sides; works may be hung at any height on the wires with no protection between them and exhibition visitors;
  • Sam Richards is using the translation of the Tao Te Ching by D.C. Lau published by Penguin Classics. Artists may choose this or any other version, and should also submit the English text of the chapter(s) to which they’re responding, plus the source details (you can download a free PDF of a translation by J.H. McDonald here.
  • While we would like to include visual responses to as many of the 81 chapters as possible, artists are free to choose whichever they like, and multiple artists might choose the same chapter(s) – artists should let us know as early as possible, which chapter(s) they’ve chosen so that we can let others know which have already been chosen;
  • Artists may work in any 2-dimensional medium as long as condition 4 above can be met.

Please contact Tom Walker: if you are intending to make a submission, or with any questions.

Andy Williamson, Arts Director, Ashburton Arts Centre
27 Feb 2023