YOKO ONO: MUSIC OF THE MIND will celebrate Ono’s groundbreaking contributions to early conceptual and participatory art, music, and her passionate advocacy for world peace. Over seven decades, from the mid-1950s to today, the exhibition delves into her innovative work, spanning more than 200 pieces, including instruction-based art, installations, films, music, and photography. It will showcase her unique approach to language, art, and audience engagement, which remains relevant today.
At the heart of Ono’s art are poetic and thought-provoking ideas, often expressed in playful and profound ways. The exhibition will begin by exploring her role in experimental avant-garde circles in New York and Tokyo, where she introduced her ‘instruction pieces’ – written directives designed to trigger imagination and participation.
Moving forward, the exhibition will explore Ono’s London years, her artistic collaboration with John Lennon, and key installations, including “Apple” and “Half-A-Room.” also presented will be her banned “Film No. 4 (Bottoms)” and her influential talk at the Destruction In Art Symposium, highlighting her participatory art principles.
Throughout her work, recurring themes like the sky as a symbol of peace, freedom, and boundlessness are examined. Ono’s commitment to feminism is showcased through her films and feminist anthems, empowering women and denouncing violence.
Ono’s advocacy for peace and humanitarian causes, including collaborations with John Lennon, is illustrated through projects like “Acorns for Peace” and the iconic “WAR IS OVER!” billboard campaign. The exhibition also features her recent project, “Add Colour (Refugee Boat),” which engages visitors in reflecting on issues of crisis and displacement.
The exhibition will reach its peak with “My Mommy Is Beautiful,” a participatory installation where visitors can attach photos of their mothers and share personal messages on a 15-meter-long wall of canvases. Ono’s art will extend beyond the gallery space, with interventions on Tate Modern’s building and landscape, including the powerful statement “PEACE is POWER” in multiple languages on gallery windows and the interactive “Wish Tree” inviting passers-by to contribute their wishes for peace at the entrance.
YOKO ONO: MUSIC OF THE MIND, 15th February – 1st September 2024 Tate Modern
Tate Members get unlimited free entry to all Tate exhibitions. Become a Member at tate.org.uk/members. Everyone aged 16-25 can visit all Tate exhibitions for £5 by joining Tate Collective. To join for free, visit tate.org.uk/tate-collective.
Tate’s exhibition takes its title from Ono’s Music of the Mind series of concerts and events in London and Liverpool in 1966 and 1967. It reflects her concept of silent music, in which her ‘instructions’ produce sound in the listeners’ imagination. In 1966 Ono explained her concept: ‘When a violinist plays, which is incidental: the arm movement or the bow sound… I think of my music more as a practice (gyo) than a music. The only sound that exists to me is the sound of the mind. My works are only to induce music of the mind in people…’