Exhibition review: Yoko Ono – Music of the Mind at Tate Modern

“Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind,” the captivating exhibition at Tate Modern, invites you on an extraordinary journey through seven decades of Yoko Ono’s groundbreaking artistry. Running until 1st September, 2024, this immersive showcase unveils over 200 works spanning installations, films, music, and photography.

Tate Modern offers a fresh perspective on a figure often overshadowed by her connection to John Lennon. While many know her as Lennon’s partner, this exhibition shines a spotlight on her profound impact on avant-garde art and activism.

yoko ono exhibition

Ono’s artistic odyssey began amidst the turmoil of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where she found solace in the boundless sky. This early exploration of imagination laid the foundation for her avant-garde debut, where the sky itself became her canvas.

As you step into the exhibition, you’re greeted by a playful symphony: a ringing telephone with Ono’s voice on the line. This fanciful welcome sets the stage for an interactive journey that challenges traditional artistic norms. Engaging corners invite visitors to participate in the creative process, blurring the lines between observer and creator.

Ono’s provocative performances include the groundbreaking “Cut Piece,” which predates the daring endeavours of artists like Marina Abramovich. Through acts of vulnerability and audience participation, Ono invites viewers to reconsider the conventional boundaries of art.

cut pieces yoko ono experimental art collage london mums magazine

Cut piece: filmed 21 March 1965 in New York – Yoko Ono kneels motionless onstage while audience members cut away pieces of her clothing with a pair of scissors. According to Ono, “It was a form of giving, giving and taking. It was a kind of criticism against artists, who are always giving what they want to give. I wanted people to take whatever they wanted.” Cut Piece is one of Ono’s most well-known works and she has performed it several times. She states that her performance in Paris in 2003 was against ageism, against racism, against sexism, and against violence.’

While Ono’s partnership with John Lennon remains a focal point, the exhibition highlights her distinctive artistic voice. From iconic album covers to experimental films, Ono’s influence on Lennon’s work is undeniable, yet her own contributions to the avant-garde movement shine brightly.

Yoko ono and john lennon collage by london mums magazine

Beyond her artistry, Ono’s life is a testament to her unwavering advocacy for peace and feminism. From the iconic “Bed-Ins for Peace” to her timeless message of “Make love, not war,” Ono’s activism continues to inspire generations.

As you explore the halls of Tate Modern, you’re immersed in Yoko Ono’s legacy transcending boundaries, inviting us all to envision a world of peace and boundless creativity.

In a world characterised by division and conflict, Ono’s message resonates deeply: “Imagine peace.” Let us draw inspiration from her courage and conviction as we navigate the complexities of our time and dare to dream of a brighter tomorrow.

Make love, not war!

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