Morgenpost (May 11th 2001)
Yoko Ono won't give up her hope for
a better world. Her new exhibition in Gallery Vostell is about abused women. From
today, May 11th 2001, onwards in Gallery Rafael Vostell in Berlin there will be
sculptures, bronze objects and installations by Yoko Ono from the past four decades
Berliner Morgenpost asked her about the title
of the new exhibition, Herstory, and if it's biographical. Yoko answered that
she wanted to bring female heroines to the world's attention, and that it's also
a wordplay. Womanhood + History = Herstory. The history of all wives and women.
There are also references closely linked to Yoko Ono's own personal history in
the exhibition, for instance the photographic installation Vertical
Memory. "These are experiences which concern everyone, for instance birth
Yoko Ono about how her art has changed during
her long career: "Naturally one changes one's view on the world and particularly
on art over and over again. I am not a careless grasshopper anymore --- I have
lost some of my idealism. Our society requires career-oriented individuals. The
society has changed also me. That's why there are these bronze versions of my
early pieces: they are harder and more heavy. These pieces have adapted to their
environment, and so have I".
Yoko says that her Wish
Tree installation is her artistic symbol of the future because everyone all
over the world have reacted positively to it. "People actually queue up for
the chance to add their wish to the tree. I want people to believe in small miracles
instead of behaving violently. I think everyone should believe in a dialogue,
although we all carry a dark page in us. Everyone should hear the voices of the
abused children and women. It is simply unbelievable what is still going on in
civilized countries like Europe and USA daily. Humans who are abused like victims
of wars to be silent."
When she was asked if she is
nostalgic about the 1960s, she answered: "Under no circumstances. I want
to contribute my positive piece to the 21st century."
Ono in Die Welt (May 12th 2001)
Die Welt asked Yoko if
she sees Herstory to be in connection with the Fluxus movement from the 1960s,
and she said: "My newer objects are also naturally influenced by my co-operation
with people such as John Cage and George Maciunas. My artistic biography remains
closely connected with these ideas. Nevertheless that was all long ago, and I
think that my art moves also into other directions."
Welt: "In the photographic piece called Vertical Memory you have used John
Lennon's face as one of the faces. Doesn't it annoy you to be still connected
with the Lennon myth?"
Yoko Ono: "Of course I can't
pretend that I never had anything to do with John. However I was already an artist
long before I met him -- my productivity never depended on him. Vertical Memory
is a photographic piece in which John is shown. Many viewers have even thought
that I'm in the picture, too. The picture has computer-processed composition of
portraits of my father, my son Sean and John. Every woman in her life is connected
to many men, but primarily with three men: father, husband and son. Vertical Memory
is about the feminine history, which is closely connected to these three figures."
continues about the title of the exhibition, Herstory: "This exhibition is
about how women relate to the men in their environment."
Welt asked Yoko if there is a connection between the new installation piece titled
Herself and her other installation, Freight Train,
and she denied any connection. "The picture series of Portrait Memory consists
of anonymizated portraits of abused women. With Freight Train it was also about
force and abuse, however in another form: I wanted to remind of the case in which
a group of Mexican workers tried to immigrate illegally into USA. The Mexicans
came in a freight train car and died there. Herself sets a completely different
emphasis, as the exhibition is about the feminine aspect, with which Freight Train
is in no connection."
When Die Welt asked Yoko "why
Berlin?", she answered that Berlin has a special place in her heart because
of the cultural factor of the city.