the exhibition press release:
Since 1955, Yoko Ono (born in Tokyo in 1933) has been working on text pieces with
the character of orders. She published more than 150 of these works in the compendium
Grapefruit in 1964; they included the Instructions for
Paintings. 30 Instructions from this publication are now experiencing a world
premiere in the Kupferstichkabinett of the Kunsthalle Bremen. They have been translated
into German for the first time and transposed onto hand-written paper by the artist
herself, using pen and ink. In addition, an English version of Xeroxed copies
and a Japanese variant from 1962 are exhibited; the latter consists of 19 positive
and 16 negative Photostat copies of transcriptions by Ichiyanagi Toshi. Alongside
these deliberations on painting, it will also be possible to see the Instructions
for Films from 196468 and the Instructions for Photographs from 196171/97,
the piece of music Cough Piece and a video work related to the Instructions for
As the author of the Instructions,
Yoko Ono is the giver of ideas for paintings. The addressees function as the takers
of ideas, following the instructions and so completing the works. The artist uses
the imperative of every Instruction and means of reproduction such as transcription,
copy, translation, exhibition and exhibition catalogue to extend her circle of
addressees and authors. The same applies to the poster that Yoko Ono has designed
for public space in Bremen. In large black letters on white paper, we read the
word Fenster (window), below it the initials y.o., and
the year 2007. In formal terms, the poster is minimalist, yet it adopts
a concept of painting dating from the Renaissance: at that time, the art theorist
Leon Battista Alberti compared a painting to the view through an open window.
Yoko Onos poster also alludes to this idea. Window is a purist area for
projection, its silent imperative being Imagine.
The few words of Yoko Onos affirmations are chosen so precisely
that they may become poetry. In Lighting Piece from autumn 1955, she provides
the instruction: Light a match and watch till it goes out. The consonance and
onomatopoeia of match and watch enable us to hear the
sizzle of the match as it lights up, burns and goes out. The play with words is
the instruction for a game with the senses, stimulating our eyes, ears and nose.
The sentence is a tense link between emergence and passing; as it is written,
it conveys something about the game with the match and ultimately about the players,
whose life is equally limited in duration. It represents a tryst between the laconic
and the serious, between poetry and performance, when the reader of the poem becomes
the creator of a fleeting still-life.
including 30 facsimiles of the hand-written Instructions for Paintings from 2007
will appear in conjunction with the exhibition, as well as a brochure with texts
by Jon Hendricks, Wulf Herzogenrath and Frank Laukötter."
Piece © Lenono Photo Archiv