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Berliner 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 on display.

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 and death."

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."


Yoko 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."

Die 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."

Yoko continues about the title of the exhibition, Herstory: "This exhibition is about how women relate to the men in their environment."

Die 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.

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