Yoko Ono. Between the Sky and My Head / Exhibition at the Kunsthalle Bielefeld
Yoko Ono. Between the Sky and My Head
Exhibition > 16 November 2008
With the works of Yoko Ono (*1933) the Kunsthalle Bielefeld is featuring an artist who has been active for over fifty years, and who should undoubtedly be credited with having invented Conceptual Art.
This exhibition is the artist’s largest show in Germany to date, and it deals with Ono’s cosmic, poetic, and political understanding of human culture.
Photo Tom Haller/©Yoko Ono
For the 2008 exhibition in Bielefeld (featuring a selection of Ono’s work from 1961 to the present), works placed outside the museum will relate to the city itself. One of these will be a Wish Tree. The Wish Tree differs greatly from the “wish pieces” in Japanese temple gardens or the “fortunes” in Chinese fortune cookies. While those preprinted prayers and fortunes are materialistic, the Wish Trees invite the public to express hopes and dreams. Just before the opening of the exhibition, children and teens from three schools in Bielefeld will hang their wishes on a selected tree outside the Johnson building.
A Golden Ladder, which is an allegory for the exhibition’s title, Between the Sky and My Head, will be installed in the Kunsthalle park. The work is an imaginary, spiritual space centered between sky and earth Since Ono works not only with grand dreams, but also with poetic visions of how one can change, she plans a third work that will take place outside the Kunsthalle. It will be the realization of a work she originally noted down in 1962: titled Riding Piece “Ride a coffin car all over the city.” During the run of the show, visitors to the Kunsthalle can decide to be chauffeured around the city in a hearse for a short time.
Inside the Kunsthalle, visitors will experience three floors of sculptures, paintings, drawings, photographs, films, and sound installations. An interview with the artist, filmed in Bielefeld, will accompany the exhibition.
Yoko Ono writing a wish to hang on Wish Tree (1996)
During the exhibition
»Yoko Ono Entrance Ex It«
June 23 – July 25, 1997
Lonja del Pescado, Alicante, Spain
Photo: Miguel Angel Valero, courtesy of Lenono Photo Archive
© Alle Rechte vorbehalten
Film Still from FLY (1970) (Colour)
Directed by Yoko Ono
Photo Credit: © 1970 Yoko Ono
Courtesy of Lenono Photo Archive
One of the earliest works is Cough Piece, first written down in 1961; and Keep Coughing a Year, a sound installation featuring the artist’s cough and other sounds, will be heard in dark rooms. Laughing and coughing were important anchors in Ono’s work at the time she began creating conceptual art: they considerably expand the sense of time during a performance.
In the entrance to the Kunsthalle is Play It by Trust, a chess game that has been set up several times in various places since 1966. In Bielefeld, it will be in marble, with chess pieces one meter high, on a surface measuring five by five meters. One can imagine playing the game with the heavy, fragile marble pieces, all of which are white. Morning Beams, consisting of one hundred nylon threads running throughout all of the floors of the Kunsthalle, illuminates the twelve-meter-high staircase.
Since the mid-1990s, Ono has been working with ink on paper, and the show will feature a drawing called Franklin Summer. Other pieces in the exhibition include a labyrinth made of Plexiglas, titled Amaze; the famous film Fly, showing a fly on a woman’s body in a six-part installation; and a participatory piece, My Mommy is Beautiful, in which visitors are invited to put photographs and other thoughts of their mothers onto the bare canvas of the work, or other feelings that they themselves write.
Yoko Ono. Between the Sky and My Head will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue
Text © Kunsthalle Bielefeld
Images © All rights reserved