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window for germany


From 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 1964–68 and the Instructions for Photographs from 1961–71/97, the piece of music Cough Piece and a video work related to the Instructions for Paintings.

Production of Producers

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 Ono’s poster also alludes to this idea. Window is a purist area for projection, its silent imperative being Imagine.

Word Games with all the Senses

The few words of Yoko Ono’s 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.

A publication 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."


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Lighting Piece
Lighting Piece © Lenono Photo Archiv
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