João Onofre, Tacet

19 Nov 2014 – 10 Jan 2015

Regular hours

10:00 – 17:30
10:00 – 17:30
10:00 – 17:30
10:00 – 16:00
by appointment
10:00 – 17:30
10:00 – 17:30

Cost of entry



London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Green Park

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Marlborough Contemporary is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by leading internationally acclaimed Portuguese artist João Onofre (b. 1976).


At the centre of the exhibition will be Onofre’s new film Tacet; a reinterpretation of experimental composer John Cage’s iconic ‘silent’ work,4'33". Cage originally composed 4'33" to be interpreted by any combination of instruments, but with instructions for the performer or performers not to play throughout the four minutes and thirty-three seconds of the score. The ambient sounds occurring in the space during this time become part of the piece. 

The Latin term "tacet" after which the film is named is an instruction of silence in a musical score, meaning literally ‘it is silent’. As in Cage’s performance, the beginning of Onofre’s film is marked by the performer's entrance -the pianist João Aboim, closing the piano lid. However, in a divergence from Cage’s instruction, the pianist sets the piano alight. The gradually building fire becomes the dominant sound and a startling image in contrast to the classical scene.

Several other works will also be on show, including a large scale aquatint series, in which Onofre converts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights together with an unseen image into binary code.

Preceding this exhibition at Marlborough Contemporary, Onofre’s ‘Box sized DIE featuring...’ (2007-2014), showed in London for the first time in June. The sculpture references Tony Smith’s pioneering minimalist sculpture Die (1962) having identical dimensions to Smith’s work. In Onofre’s interpretation, the steel cube came to life with a live set from a local Death Metal band. The sculpture was positioned outside the London landmark the ‘Gherkin’ and was activated by London based Death Metal band ‘Unfathomable Ruination’ ‘Box sized DIE featuring...’ has toured extensively through Europe at venues including Unlimited, Art Basel; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona (MACBA) and Fundação de Serralves, Porto.


About João Onofre

João Onofre (Lisbon, 1976), studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon and concluded his MA in Fine Arts at Goldsmiths College in London. He has had numerous solo exhibitions in museums and galleries internationally, namely: MoMA PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2002); Museu do Chiado, Lisbon, Portugal (2003 and 2012); Kunsthalle Wien, Project Space Karlsplatz, Wien (2003); Magazin 4, Bregenz (2004); Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona (2011); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2011); Neuer Kunstverein Wien, Vienna (2013);


His works are held in both public and private collections worldwide, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin. He currently lives and works in Lisbon. 



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