Yoko Ono

between the sky and my head


From the exhibition press release

With the works of Yoko Ono 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. It contains a selection of Ono's works dating from 1961 to the present, and will also include works outside the museum, which will reference the city itself. Inside the Kunsthalle there will be three levels of sculptures, paintings, drawings, photographs, films, and sound installations.

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. 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. To celebrate the re-opening of the sculpture park on 27 September, 2008, at 6 p.m., the work Golden Ladder, made in Bielefeld at Ono's behest, will be installed on a temporary basis.

The show will be seen at the Baltic Centre of Contemporary Arts, Gateshead, England, between December 13, 2008 and March 15, 2009.


Selected works

Coffin Car (originally titled Riding Piece) 1962-2008
Black coffin car (Mercedes Benz 220, 1971) with instruction printed
on each side of the car, driver.

"Ride a coffin car all over the city" wrote Yoko Ono in 1962 for her legendary book, Grapefruit, a collection of proposals for artistic activities. Now the Kunsthalle Bielefeld will have the piece performed: visitors to the exhibition can be chauffeured through Bielefeld for a few minutes in a real hearse; in this very special vehicle, one has an altered view of the city and one's own life. Please sign up for a ride!

Coffin Car

Wish Tree 1997

The power of imagination is at the center of Yoko Ono's works. Therefore, a "Wish Tree" will be set up in the Kunsthalle park; all visitors are encouraged to attach their wishes written on notepaper to the tree. In contrast to the traditional Japanese wish tree or the Chinese fortune cookie, there will not be any pre-formulated notes. Instead, everyone is invited to formulate his or her own wish. According to the artist, imagining a better world is the first step toward changing it. Before the official opening, schoolchildren from Bielefeld will hang their wishes on the tree.

Play It By Trust (Marble Version) 2007

A chess game using only white figures: what at first seems paradoxical actually follows a philosophical concept. Almost as if it were a Zen meditation, one is supposed to get lost in the game until one no longer knows if the figures are one's own or belong to one's opponent. Ono does not present the game as a competition, but as an experiential process. Ono has continually varied this work over decades; the Kunsthalle Bielefeld will show a 5 x 5-meter variation made of marble.

Discussion with Yoko Ono

Wednesday 7 p.m., September 10th 2008
Limited number of tickets available

She is an icon of Conceptual Art and pop culture. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to experience Yoko Ono in a live discussion with Thomas Kellein in the Kunsthalle's lecture hall.


arrow This exhibition at Baltic
arrow More exhibitions by Yoko Ono




© Lenono Photo Archive 2005

© Sari Gurney
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