Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Yoko Ono - To the Light

Event: Yoko Ono - To the Light
Location: Serpentine Gallery, Hyde Park

Yoko Ono is an interesting figure: people either love her or hate her. I think that if you only consider her in light of John Lennon, then of course you might not see her favourably, but as an individual performance artist and as someone that influences others artistically, she is quite phenomenal. 

I saw a huge Yoko Ono retrospective about a decade ago at the AGO, and really fell in love with her quirky, minimalist style. A lot of her artworks are so pared down that you don't really see anything. All you see is a piece of paper with words written on it, but what the words get the viewer to do is infinite. 

According to legend, Lennon saw Ono's Ceiling Painting (right), climbed up the ladder to see the painting that said 'YES!' and fell in love with her. I find that idea very beautiful.

Anyway, Ono makes the viewer work for their pleasure. For example, she uses a lot of words to accompany her art: in The Pointedness (below), there's a glass ball on display and the words 'This sphere will be a sharp point when it gets to the far corners of the room in your mind.'

Is this bullshit? Or is something really interesting going on? It's for you to decide, but for me, I really like the fact that she uses the viewer's power of imagination to complete the artwork, even if, in real life, you can't really make the statement come true. A sphere will never have a point simply by definition of being a sphere. 

The exhibition is free, and Serpentine Gallery is a lovely gallery.  Now that Olympic is over, it'll be easier to find the exhibition (the crowd control routes during the Games made the walk really frustrating). 

PS: next door is the annual temporary Serpentine Pavilion, and this year, the designer/architect is Ai Weiwei. Quite an interesting structure, but I think I preferred previous versions more. 

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