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As a pioneer of conceptual art, Yoko Ono has been creating unique and progressive works since the 1960s which challenge how we think about art and the world. Her practice explores the mediums of performance, film, music and writing, making her simultaneously an artist, poet, musician and peace activist.
PAINTING TO SHAKE HANDS, has been created exclusively for Sedition and was originally filmed for the 2012 exhibition INTO THE LIGHT at the Serpentine Gallery in London. The work references a specific instruction from her book Grapefruit, published in 1964, where the artist produced a series of ‘event scores’, which an individual might or might not enact.
The instruction reads as follows:
‘PAINTING TO SHAKE HANDS (painting for cowards)
Drill a hole in a canvas and put your hand out from behind. Receive your guests in that position. Shake hands and converse with hands.’
Here, the artist’s own lace-covered hand appears through the bare and pierced canvas, in effect ‘painting’ an image that appeals to the viewer, who perhaps ultimately joins their hand with hers.
Yoko Ono is a multi-media artist whose thought provoking work challenges people’s understanding of art and the world around them. From the beginning of her career, her work as a conceptualist has encompassed performance, instructions, film, music and writing. Born in Tokyo in 1933, and moved to New York in 1953, following her studies in philosophy in Japan. By the late 50s, she had become part of the city’s vibrant avant-garde activities. In 1960, she opened her Chambers Street loft to a series of radical performance work, and exhibited realizations of some of her early conceptual works there.
In 1961, she had a one-person show at the legendary AG Gallery in New York of her Instruction Paintings, and later that year performed a solo concert at Carnegie Recital Hall of revolutionary works involving movement, sound and voice. In 1962, she returned to Tokyo, where she extended her New York performance at the Sogetsu Art Centre and showed her Instructions for Paintings there. In 1964 Yoko Ono performed Cut Piece in Kyoto and Tokyo, and published Grapefruit.
Ono has made a number of films, including Fly and Rape, and many records, including Fly, Approximately Infinite Universe, Rising, and most recently Between My Head and the Sky, co-produced with son Sean Lenno, on his Chimera Music label. In 2007, she created Imagine Peace Tower on Vi.ey Island, Iceland. She has had numerous exhibitions in museums, including traveling exhibitions organized by the Museum of Modern Art Oxford and the Japan Society in New York. In 2009, she exhibited Anton’s Memory at the Bevilacqua Foundation in Venice, and received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement from the Venice Biennale.
In 2011, Ono was honored with the prestigious 8th Hiroshima Art Prize, and opened the one-person exhibition The Road Of Hope at the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art. She completed solo exhibitions Uncursed at Galerie Lelong in New York City; LIGHT at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo; and in early 2012 Our Beautiful Daughters at the Vadehra Art Gallery in New Dehli. Ono had her first solo exhibition in London had her first solo exhibition in London, TO THE LIGHT, at London’s Serpentine Gallery, 2012, and most recently, on occasion of her 80th birthday, Half A Wind opened at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 2013, and is to tour other European countries, including Denmark .
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