Yoko Ono presents MEND PIECE for London

This fall, visitors to the Whitechapel Gallery are invited to participate in an interactive installation by world-renowned artist, musician and activist Yoko Ono (b.1933, Japan).

Yoko Ono, Mend Piece, 1966/2018, Broken cups and saucers, thread, glue, duct tape. Installation view: ‘You & I’, A4 Arts Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa, 2018. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Kyle Morland.

Shattered pottery fragments are displayed on two plain white tables, along with easy-to-repair materials – glue, string, scissors and tape. Upon entering the space, participants are prompted with a set of simple instructions provided by the artist: “Repair carefully. / Think about fixing the world at the same time. ‘ When completed, “repaired” items are displayed on adjacent shelves.

Ono first presented this work as Repair Piece I during his 1966 solo exhibition at the Indica Gallery in London, a renowned center for counter-cultural art. MEND PIECE for London Now returns to the city more than 50 years later, after Ono’s vast career in performance, writing, visual art, experimental music and film. Educational work such as Repair Piece I established Ono as an important figure in the development of Fluxus and conceptual art, with participation and collaboration central to his practice. These concepts are also closely linked to his ceaseless and tireless campaigns for peace and non-violence.

MEND PIECE for London is inspired by the Japanese tradition of kintsugi, the art of repairing broken pottery using lacquer mixed with precious metals such as gold and silver. The process nurtures the rupture as an important part of an object’s story, rather than trying to disguise it. Likewise, in this work of art, the physical act of repairing becomes a timely metaphor for another kind of repair that takes place in the mind and through the community.

To ensure the safety and tranquility of visitors, MEND PIECE for London has been adapted in consultation with the artist to take social distancing into account. Disinfectant is available, ventilation has been increased, and a staff member is available at all times to help. Yesoko Ono: REPAIR THE ROOM for London is curated by Cameron Foote, Assistant Curator, Whitechapel Gallery.

Yoko Ono: MEND PIECE for London August 25, 2021 – January 2, 2022 Galleries 5 & 6, Free admission

Yoko Ono was born in Tokyo in 1933 before moving to the United States with her family in the mid-1950s. After studying at Sarah Lawrence College, she quickly became a catalytic figure in the avant-garde scenes in New York City, hosting an influential series of concerts and art installations in his downtown Chambers Street loft featuring Simone Forti, Jackson Mac Low, Robert Morris and La Monte Young. Over the next decade, she lived in New York, London and Tokyo, influencing the development of Fluxus and conceptual art, through her educational, cinematographic and performative work. From the late 1960s, she collaborated with her husband and musician John Lennon on experimental pop music releases and anti-Vietnam War campaigns for peace that imaginatively benefited from her growing international fame. In recent years, she has made full use of digital and social platforms to promote militant causes, always rooted in messages of peace and universal creativity. In 2009, she received the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale for Lifetime Achievement.

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Marc Westall

Mark Westall is the founder and editor-in-chief of FAD magazine Founder and co-editor of Art of Conversation and founder of the @worldoffad platform

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