Yoko Ono

en/trance at SECCA


Written by Jacqui Legere (Nov. 2002)

Telephone Piece for Winston Salem (2002-2003)

A telephone on a pedestal, only Yoko knows the number. "If the phone rings, please pick it up. What will you say? You'll think of something." I didn't have to. The phone didn't ring when I saw YES Yoko Ono in NYC, and it didn't ring for me at SECCA either. C'est la vie!

Portrait of Nora (1992-2002)

A digitally manipulated photo of Yoko from 1970. The work references the main character in Henrik Ibsen's play 'A Doll's House' (1879). Nora is a woman who liberates herself from the social constrictions of her time. Only exhibited once before in an intimate 7x7 inch format, SECCA enlarged the work to a large format that blurs the image up close but reveals a solid form from a distance. In Ibsen's version, Nora leaves her husband by mustering up her courage and walking out the door. Here, she begins to vanish by dissolving into the bitmaps of cyberspace.

En Trance 1991-2002

En Trance is a room-sized interactive work that has to be experienced in person to fully appreciate. Originally envisioned in 1990, it has been displayed in Europe several times. The piece asks that we participate and complete the work of art by moving through a series of doorways or paths in a big white "box".

One path is a semi-circle, beginning and ending on the same side of the "box". The rest of the tunnels I will describe are parallel to each other: The first cuts straight through the "box," with the walls narrowing from one side to the other. A second tunnel starts out as a series of steps. From floor level it appears as if the steps lead to a box-shaped cubby-hole at the top. However, upon climbing the stairs, it is discovered the stairs actually lead to a slide! The slide takes the viewer out the other side of the box through a knee-height semicircle opening. The third tunnel also extends from one side of the box to the other. One side has an opening approximately knee-height, the other side is head-height and the roof connecting the openings is curved downward. The final tunnel is lined with mirrors an each side at head-height. It extends the width of the box, allowing people to enter from either side. Reflections from the two mirrors creates an infinity view, however the view also fades to darkness in the distance (the En Trance installation is wide enough so the dim light in the tunnel creates this effect). Finally, outside one end of the box are three rows of beaded-curtains. The beads were an opal-purple shade and extended from the top of the box to the floor. As a fellow visitor noted "Yoko is the master of the adult playground!"

Another gallery at SECCA afforded birds-eye view of En Trance. From above it was immediately obvious that En Trance had no top! While the tunnels and paths each had ceilings, the overall 'box' did not have a top. I was left to wonder if this was intentional or not! For the sake of full disclosure, the piece was constructed of wood with white sheet rock covering the sides and tunnels. Kudos to the construction efforts of SECCA!


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