Yoko Ono-Fly

Yoko Ono-Fly

Ke Center for the Contemporary Arts

December 13, 2008

Yoko Ono-Fly
Nov 23 – Dec 15, 2008

Exhibition Opening:
November 22, 2008, 19:00

Kai Xuan Road 613-B,
Shanghai, 200051 China


Exhibition Concept and Curator: Yoko Ono
Organized by Gunnar Kvaran and Biljana Ciric
Presented by Ke Center for the Contemporary Arts
Partner: Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway
Special Thanks to Intrude 366 Art &Life Project, Zendai MoMA

Press Conference: November 21, 2008, 15:00 at Ke Center for the Contemporary Arts
Artist will be present at the opening and press conference.

From the time of her emergence in the New York art scene in the early 60′s, Yoko Ono has been reinventing herself and the philosophy of her working methods continually, making her a pioneer of avant-garde practices. Her art crosses and blends the boundaries of Fluxus, Conceptual Art, and Happenings, within which she has sustained her many different roles as artist, composer, poet, and antiwar activist for decades.

Yoko Ono’s work is not based in a studio practice, but rather closely connected to her way of living and approach to life. She wrote: “Art is not merely a duplication of life. To assimilate art in life is different from art duplicating life.” Ono is one of the rare figures in the field of contemporary art that through her unparalleled practice has reached millions over the world.

Her significance on the international art scene as a woman at a time when there weren’t many other woman being recognized for their contributions, and rarely Asian representatives as well, makes her contribution even more unique.

Ke Center for the Contemporary Arts is honored to present the exhibition Yoko Ono-Fly, Yoko Ono’s first solo exhibition in China. The show will present Yoko Ono’s diverse body of work from the early stages of her career through to her current work based on a series of instructions. The exhibition is organized with assistance from the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Gunnar Kvaran, and Biljana Ciric, the Ke Center’s curator.

Running alongside the presentation of Ono’s work in the Ke Center gallery spaces, the exhibition events will be spread throughout the city as well. Yoko Ono’s 20 FLY billboard ads will be spread throughout the subway system in Shanghai during the month of November, while her Instruction work will be placed in different venues around city in galleries, restaurants, bars, shops, and so on.

Ono’s work is often associated with the Fluxus movement and draws philosophically from such forms as Buddhism, haiku and Noh poetry, emphasizing minimalistic forms and suggestive imagery. Yoko Ono’s work was conceptual before the establishment of Conceptual Art. Instead of letting materials, media and methods lead the way of the creative act, Yoko Ono works form a foundational concept, which she does not elaborate upon visually, but rather with words that are at once a description and a definition, and yet still allow considerable scope for the performer.

Using plain words, the artist sets up objects, events, and rituals—actions that are given a precise elaboration when fulfilled by the performer, materially and/or mentally.

The starting point is the word, which links her practice with literature and in particular to poetry. Many analysts of Yoko Ono’s art have rightly wanted to associate her Instructions with music and musical scores. Yoko Ono’s Instructions are not poems; they are visual works of art, a new type of art that has escaped or broken away from material elaboration on the part of the artist.

The broad reach of Yoko Ono’s artistic oeuvre brings together various event forms and performances, happenings, advertisement art, film and video, to instructions and music.

An act of destructive is a notion that appears in many of Yoko Ono’s works especially after the 80′s, but most of the time followed by a thought of hope. In these works it’s more about the world seen from an outside perspective, where the artist draws attention to and forces the viewer to confront more or less horrifying events as in the Exit piece.

Once John Lennon said about Yoko Ono that she is “the world’s most famous unknown artist: everybody knows her name, but nobody knows what she does.” This exhibition aims to present the achievement of this unique figure, who if we were to define her as an artist would only result in the limiting of her vast contributions.

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Ke Center for the Contemporary Arts
December 13, 2008

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