Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yoko Ono, The Serpentine Gallery

It is a short walk from Hyde Park Corner, through a fabulously scented rose garden (nose-to-the-rose experience only marred by a fat and confident rat sauntering across the footpath).
Caroline was waiting for me and together we looked at comments left on fluttering white labels tied to the wishing tree.
'I wish for an end to Yoko Ono', said one. We were told that the labels were to be sent to Yoko. I know she wouldn't wish for an end to the person that wrote that (and those who wrote similar churlish comments) but I must confess the thought fleeted through my own mind.

As soon as you enter the gallery, you sense the presence of the artist. It is very rarely that this happens and this had quite an emotional hit.
Yoko Ono's message has not changed; it is a message of peace, embeded in a sense that the world is a living organism and its people are its lifeblood. Tiny details are simultaneously important and not so. It was a pleasure to walk around with Caroline who interviewed Yoko years ago.

At the top of a white-painted ladder written on the ceiling was a tiny word. Lennon  had climbed the ladder in the age of 60s cynicism, seen the word 'Yes' and decided that he wanted to be with Yoko.
There was a terribly poignant piece of film in which the power of the love between the two of them was almost overwhelming. Imagine feeling like that and then having your partner shot! It was so moving, I found it difficult not to cry.
The exhibition has its own pace: Yoko describes her birth and her death and there is footage of the performance piece in which the audience is invited to cut pieces of her clothing and remove them. In the sixties footage, the pieces are dropped to the ground; in the 2000s footage, they are taken away as souvenirs (this is what Caroline noticed).
It is a lovely, graceful exhibition.
Afterwards we sat by the Serpentine and chatted about music: reggae, mostly; and writers: Vivien Goldman, mostly.

Later, I met Offsprog One and we went to the Animation Debut at the Royal College of Art. As always, the films were full of variety and experimentation. Sometimes, the simplest of ideas worked best; the quality was high and the experience was riveting. We had interesting and genial conversations with a number of people, inclduing Joan Ashworth, the course director, and Peter Blegvad, a wordsmith and artsmith whom I have been to see playing recently at the Cafe Oto.

You could say I felt arted out as I fell asleep last night but it was a good day full of inspiration both from art and from conversation.

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