Yoko Ono

between the sky and my head


Baltic exhibition press release

Yoko Ono is one of the pioneers of conceptual art and has an international exhibition career spanning nearly 50 years. From Sunday 14 December, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art will present YOKO ONO BETWEEN THE SKY AND MY HEAD, comprising work by Yoko Ono from the 1950s to the present day.

The exhibition, one of the largest exhibitions of Yoko Ono’s work to date, is a major collaborative project with Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany curated by Thomas Kellein and Jon Hendricks and will occupy two floors of BALTIC with additional works located outside the gallery.

The exterior artworks form part of the 2008 NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival and are located in prominent locations around NewcastleGateshead. ONOCHORD, a work where Ono uses light to form a code spelling out “I Love You” or “•, ••, •••” will be presented as a large projection of light from the Castle Keep, Newcastle for a limited number of weeks from Sunday 14 December. A special participatory event incorporating ONOCHORD will take place outside BALTIC on Sunday 14 December at 6.00pm. Visitors to BALTIC Square will be invited to send and receive “I Love You” messages from and to the Castle Keep.

Yoko Ono’s Film No. 5 (Smile), made in 1968, will be projected onto existing landmarks in NewcastleGateshead across several evenings. The film, shot with a high-speed camera, records a single smile of John Lennon that evolves over the course of fifty-one minutes. As part of Enchanted Parks in Saltwell Park, Gateshead, (Thurs 4 – Sun 14 Dec) Ono will present Wish Trees for Gateshead – where visitors are invited to express their hopes and dreams by writing wishes on paper and hanging them on one of the trees. Additional Wish Trees will be located at BALTIC throughout the exhibition. Wishes from all the trees will be gathered at the end of the exhibition, and sent to the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER in Videy Island, Iceland, to join the rest of the wishes from around the world.

Yoko Ono has a strong and irrepressible desire for freedom. This desire can be immediately recognised in her Imagine Peace billboards; BALTIC will be presenting an Imagine Peace banner measuring an impressive 14.5 metres by 18 metres situated on the north face of BALTIC’s landmark building.

Inside BALTIC, the exhibition will cover more than 1400m² of gallery space containing sculpture, paintings, drawing, photography, films and sound installations, as well as participation works. Among the 50 works featured in the exhibition is Play it by Trust, a conceptual chess set, made from white Italian Carrara marble. A version of the work was first exhibited in London at Ono’s legendary exhibition at the Indica Gallery in 1966.

Another work, Sky Ladder - which might be read as an allegory for the exhibition’s title, BETWEEN THE SKY AND MY HEAD - invites us to consider an imaginary, spiritual space centred between the sky and earth. My Mommy is Beautiful, is a participatory piece in which visitors to BALTIC are invited to bring photographs of their mothers, along with thoughts and memories about their mothers, to be permanently attached to the blank canvases. At the conclusion of the exhibition, the filled canvases will be sent to the artist in New York.

YOKO ONO BETWEEN THE SKY AND MY HEAD will be accompanied by a 208- page exhibition catalogue edited by Thomas Kellein, director of the Kunsthalle Bielefeld, published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne and will be available from BALTIC Shop.

Yoko Ono Artist Talk on December 14th 2008, 5.00pm – 6.00pm. Sold out.


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