Yoko Ono: Half-A-Wind-Show – Retrospective

Yoko Ono to most will always be John Lennon’s quirky wife, the woman with whom he staged a Bed-In for Peace, the catalyst for the breakup of The Beatles. To others with a little more nous, while that curious concoction of fact and fantasy, hearsay and hullabaloo, is one facet of her life, personal and public, she has always been her own person.
A sprightly, self-composed 81-year-old, Yoko has carved out a very successful career in art, which the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain is celebrating with a fascinating exhibition.
Entitled Yoko Ono: Half-A-Wind-Show – Retrospective, the show is composed of over 200 pieces of art that cover an astonishing 50 years. It has been half a century of creativity, with the Japanese artist delivering a cornucopia of ideas and sentiments through her unique worldview.
She has been prolific, choosing to explore her art in a multitude of ways, be it through poetry, film, music, installation, drawing and painting. Expression need not be through a singular conduit. Everything is a canvas.
“The heterogeneous shapes and mediums of her work challenge conventional ideas of art and raise questions that are essential to the human existence,” the museum explained.
“This fascinating journey delves into the main recurring themes and ideas that have driven her career, including her belief in the power of the imagination, her political commitment, her sense of humour and the absurd, her sensitivity to global conflicts, and the role of women in society.”
The exhibition is organised into various sections. They can be determined as ‘first installations, films and objects’, ‘important performances’; ‘experimental film’, ‘installations and recent work’, and ‘architecture and representing nature’.
In Bilbao, a series of billboards adorned with the messages ‘dream’, ‘fly’ and ‘imagine’ have been erected to promote the show, and in some ways are works of art themselves. They “can be interpreted as a thoughtful poetic break from the bustling life of the city”.
Each helps frame Yoko in terms of history and medium, helping to compare and contrast her work against contemporaries, while also exploring her output outside of a narrative.
As the billboard messages suggests, the artist has always believed in the brilliant beauty that the human mind is capable of generating. Whether that is indeed as real as the physical world everyone inhabits, or in the strange land of dreams, not tangible yet somehow still part of our experience, or through art, which gives us sights, sounds and experiences that affect us in so many ways, it doesn’t matter.
Pablo Picasso said, after all, everything you imagine is real, and that is a philosophy that Yoko has always subscribed to. Lennon too dreamed and billions around the world share that sentiment also.
Yoko Ono: Half-A-Wind-Show – Retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain runs until September 1st 2014.
Cadogan Tate has many years of experience in shipping fine art all over Europe.