YOKO ONO: MUSIC OF THE MIND ★★★★ Tate Modern | Feb 15 - Sep 1, 2024


Yoko Ono's career as an artist begins in the 1950's, and she still continues to produce innovative and challenging work. This important retrospective brings together over 200 pieces that provide a significant overview of her practice. Her focus is conceptual and participatory, and this show stretches from her first solo exhibition at New York's AG gallery in 1961 to more contemporary pieces like "PEACE is POWER" (2017). Many works address individual experience, and Ono's 'instruction pieces' such as "FLY," "TOUCH" or "Listen to a heartbeat" encourage the visitor to explore their own personal imaginative reality. However, there is also a strong social commitment in many of these creations. There is a marked feminist component to films like "FLY 1970" and "Freedom 1970," and Ono's lifelong commitment to peace is also emphasised. Works like "White Chess Set" where all the pieces are white and the instruction is to 'play as long as you can remember where all your pieces are' bring a playful irony to the dark reality of combat. The iconic film of Ono's Montreal bed-in for peace with John Lennon also highlights her participation in the anti-war movement which has been so central to her mission. The final gallery of the show, "The Personal is Political," brings together these two strands. "My Mommy is Beautiful" is a two-part work inviting viewers to expose and expand their personal experience into a shared expression, and the piece "WHISPER" clarifies that all her work can be read as a 'form of wishing.'

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Image: Yoko Ono, Half-A-Room, 1967, from HALF-A-WIND SHOW, Lisson Gallery, London, 1967. Photograph © Clay Perry / Artwork © Yoko Ono

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