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© chierkute

  • chierkute

Yoko Ono. Visit if you are looking for...

Yoko Ono and Cambridge celebrates a solid anniversary together. In 1969 Yoko Ono and John Lennon had their first public concert and it took place at Cambridge University's Lady Mitchell Hall. To commemorate it, early as well as more recent and novel Ono’s works will be on display at various venues across the city until the end of the year. All the events are titled as "Yoko Ono: Looking For…." with a specific name for each exhibition at a particular venue.


The Heong Gallery features Yoko Ono’s “Sky Pieces”, and I am not sure why only now I’ve managed to sit down and gather my thoughts on this exhibition. I highly recommend it for those who are looking for… (yes, I’m borrowing this from the exhibition title :) )


Sky

When was the last time you looked up at the sky? I love watching the clouds, trying to merge them into figures, quickly before their disappear into unexpected patterns. But these days more and more often I have to remind myself to raise my eyes to the sky.


Now, just imagine, someone in the late sixties, trying to have a piece of the sky in the room. No, I’m not talking about a simple window. More like a difficult – thought provoking and technological boundaries pushing forward – camera-tv setup with live streaming of the sky. The digital view in a tv frame gives a snap of the sky every other moment, and allows to follow the clouds at a particular focus. In the Heong Gallery, there are 25 digital windows installed giving meditative experience of the ever-changing view.


Peace

Once you enter the gallery, it strikes how peaceful everything looks. White colour dominates the room, and curiously, a chess set. Colour of goodness and perfection covers table, chairs and all the chess pieces and turns the game into mutual collaboration rather than war field. Until you hear ‘I hate you’ from your opponent when you take his peace. Can peace be achieved if there has never been a war?


Taking an active part

At the Heong Gallery you are basically entering the exhibition where you allowed to touch everything. Well, yes, to touch physically. To participate. Not only to imagine the developing concept once you look at the installation, but actually to participate. The idea that that art had to be made solely by the artist and remain the way it was produced never appealed to the artist. As Yoko Ono said, “I was an artist instead of trying to hold on to what was impossible to hold on to, I wanted to make a “change” into a positive move: “let the work grow by asking people to participate and add their effort” [1]. This is how instructions start living their life and the ‘wish tree’ comes in full bloom, charged with various emotions.


Placing a wish on a Japanese maple tree.


Observation1. This exhibition was built based on Yoko Ono’s concepts. Not physical objects but the concepts.

Observation2. If you paint chess set in another colour, red or black, would it be so peaceful then?


[1] Full interview with Yoko Ono can be found here

[2] Follow the events