In a major solo exhibition at Fondation Phi in Montreal, Yoko Ono presents a retrospective of both the artist’s solo work and her work with John Lennon.
The exhibition is in two parts spanning both of the Fondation Phi buildings. The instructions of Yoho Ono is an insight into, and celebration of, Ono’s work as a pioneering conceptual and performance artist with links to the Fluxus movement and Happenings in the 1950s. In particular this part of the exhibition focuses on Ono’s famed ‘instruction’ works; sets of instructions issued by the artist and activated by the visitor. For the exhibition Ono invites women from around the world to contribute their stories of gender-based discrimination, of harm done to them for being women. These stories, along with photographs of the women’s eyes, will contribute to collective installation work, Arising, which originates in 2013 and continues to be exhibited in an evolving form around the world. Other works featured in The instructions of Yoko Ono are Lighting Piece (1955), Mending Piece (1966), Water Event (1971/2016) and Horizontal Memories (1997).
The second part of the exhibition celebrates the art and activism collaboratively carried out by Yoko Ono and John Lennon through the 1960s and 70s. The Art of John and Yoko tells the story of the creative journey taken by the couple as they explored the potential of art and nonviolent activism for hope and profound change. The exhibition weaves a chronological narrative from documentation, coverage of events, and the personal testimony of people involved in the projects. Projects featured in this part of the exhibition include the Acorn project, the War is Over peace campaign, and the Montreal bed-in, whose fifty-year anniversary is on May 26, 2019.
The exhibition is active, energetic and hopeful. It invites visitors to interact not only with the works themselves, but also with both practical and philosophical questions about how to enact change without violent conflict.
Liberté conquérante/Growing Freedom is at Fondation Phi pour l’art contemporain, 451 Saint-Jean Street, Montreal, H2Y 2R5 from 25 April to 15 September.