Yoko Ono is an artist whose thought-provoking work challenges people’s understanding of art and the world around them. From the beginning of her career she was a conceptualist whose work encompassed performance, instructions, film, music, and writing.
For Folkestone Triennial 2014, Ono has created two new text works conceived especially for the exhibition. Earth Peace 2014 appears in many places in Folkestone, as posters in shops and houses, on billboards, as stickers, postcards and badges, and, at The Grand, as a flag, an inscribed stone, and as a morse code message beamed out by a light over the Channel. The Grand is next door to the former Metropole Arts Centre on The Leas, where Yoko Ono staged an event in 1966.
Her second contribution is a new ‘instruction’ work, SKYLADDER 2014, which is an invitation to the people of Folkestone. It is exhibited in the Quarterhouse Bar and above the stairs of the Public Library. The step ladder has been an important image for Ono for many years, symbolising access to the sky, a source of inspiration and imagination.
Ono was born in Tokyo in 1933, and moved to New York in 1953, following her studies in philosophy in Japan. By the late 1950s, she had become part of the city’s vibrant avant-garde activities. During the 1960s Ono created works Instructions for Paintings (New York), Cut Piece (Kyoto & Tokyo), and published Grapefruit. She has staged shows at the legendary AG Gallery (New York), Carnegie Recital Hall (New York), Sogetsu Art Center (Tokyo), and Judson Gallery (New Yokrk). In summer of 1966, she was invited to take part in the Destruction in Art Symposium in London and held one-person exhibitions at the Indica Gallery, and the next year at the Lisson Gallery. During this period, she performed a number of concerts throughout England including Folkestone. 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.
In the past two years, Ono was awarded the Oskar Kokoschka Prize 2012 in Vienna, and has had major one-person exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery, London, and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm. In February 2013, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt mounted a major retrospective, which travelled to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, Kunsthalle Krems and will open in March 2014 at Guggenheim Bilbao.
Please beware that the Yoko Ono’s morse code message beamed out from the roof of The Grand may not be suitable for people with photosensitive epilepsy.