Yoko Ono at the Serpentine Gallery
It has been over a decade since the world renowned Yoko Ono has displayed an exhibition at a public institution in London. There is never a dull moment at the exhibition and there is plenty of variety with new and old installations, films and large architectural designs.
The pieces are mesmerising. A couple of hours could pass by and you still might not finish the exhibition. As soon as you walk in, you see the installation Pieces of the Skyin the South Gallery. In this section there are floating World War II helmets filled with sky puzzle pieces. Ono wants everyone to take a puzzle piece because everyone is a piece to the puzzle.
Complementing this theme in a different room is a television screen labelled Sky TV with a live feed of the sky. Still in the South Gallery, Three Mounds is a compelling piece that displays three different piles of dirt labelled Country A, Country B and Country C. Behind the mounds is the famous poster WAR IS OVER! (If you want it) with “Happy Christmas from John and Ono”. The influence and contribution from John Lennon is captivating.
Ono delivers a plethora of concepts throughout the exhibit while working around themes of perception. One of the most abstract sections of the exhibition is in the West Gallery which showcases a lot of her older pieces of work. Pointedness, a crystal ball, is one of the most intriguing pieces. Ono stated: “The sphere will be a sharp point when it gets to the far corners of the room in your mind.” It is intriguing and as you find yourself wondrously staring into the ball you see that the reflection gives you an abstract view of the corners of the room.
Ono also provides her new ideas in this gallery. There are heartbeats playing over the speakers in the exhibit entitled Heartbeats of Syria. The sound of the beating heart provides suspense while you view each showcase.
The whole exhibition is compelling. However, the highlight is the large glass maze in the North Gallery where some of Ono’s most famous films such as Bottoms, Smile, Fly and Freedom are played on the wall. Entitled Amaze, the journey is more than a simple trip to the end of a maze. It is rather confusing and you may want to take your time. You’ll be intrigued until you finish, but what lies at the end is truly special.
To the Light is a positively remarkable show. You will definitely want to attend to see Ono’s wide array of works. Even outside the venue there is a giant white chess board entitled Play it by Trust and Wish Trees where you can write down your wish and tie it to the tree. However, the last part of the exhibit really makes an impression in the form of one of Ono’s latest projects, #smilesfilm. It is a large project that is available at the Serpentine Gallery and online for the London 2012 Festival. Ono invites people to upload images of their smiles to create a global collection. She says: “Each time we add our smiles to the #smilesfilm, we are creating our future, together. Give us your smile! I love you!” The exhibition left me with a smile and I’m confident that you will leave with one too.
To the Light will shine at the Serpentine Gallery from 19th of June until the 9th of September 2012. Click here for more information on the exhibition.