Often referred to as “the world’s most famous unknown artist”, this large-scale Yoko Ono retrospective is sure to surprise, challenge and expand our notion of a legendary and extremely vital artistic pioneer. For more than 50 years Yoko Ono has been a leading avantgarde artist and influential pioneer. To mark her 80th birthday earlier this year Louisiana Museum of Modern Art now shows a major retrospective of well over a hundred works. The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to orient ourselves broadly in Yoko Ono’s multifaceted artistic universe, pinpointing central themes of her career and demonstrating the diversity of media and disciplines with which she works.
Yoko Ono expresses herself with equal simplicity and originality in visual art, poetry, music, installation, performance art, film and events. The main element in her works are not materials, but ideas. Many of these ideas are poetic, bizarre and utopian, whereas others can be easily realized. They reflect her subtle humour as well as her decidedly socially critical conscience. While some of Yoko Ono’s ideas are manifested in the form of objects, others remain non-material. Often taking their starting point from her Instructions, oral or written requests to the public, Yoko Ono not only challenges our conventional ways of thinking but gives us a chance to play an active role and partake in the process of creation. Listen to the sound of the earth turning she encourages us, or Watch the sun until it becomes square.
As an introduction to the exhibition, one of Yoko Ono’s major architectural installations, En Trance, will be shown for the first time in many years. This architectural wall with its ambiguous title offers six different entrance options, allowing for various experiences. The first section of the exhibition features important works from the early 1960s where Yoko Ono became known for her ground-breaking experimental and conceptual works, performed first in New York and later in Japan. From here the exhibition continues with large spatial installations and recent works, including the brand new installation, Moving Mountains, where we are invited, individually or together with others, to form mobile sculptures from cloth bags. One area is specifically devoted to Ono’s musical production, represented by music videos, concert recordings, covers, posters etc.
Yoko Ono’s great political commitment and her enduring efforts to reach out and engage in dialogue with people all over the world – through the use of social media, billboards and Participation Pieces – can be experienced within and outside the museum walls. In the Louisiana Park you are invited to hang your personal wishes on a Wish Tree and on large billboards in Copenhagen you will find poetic messages from the artist throughout the exhibition period.