July 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

One of Ono’s Wish Trees

Chances are if you are reading this you didn’t grow up in the 1960s. But it’s a good bet that you know of Yoko Ono.

Infamous for being John Lennon’s other half, and often said to be the reason behind the Beatles break up, Ono is not always known for the artist she is. In fact John Lennon once called her, “the world’s most famous, unknown artist”.

Over five decades she has produced work as a singer, filmmaker, poet, writer and artist, and today she is showcasing her exhibition, TO THE LIGHT at the Serpentine Gallery.

Contemporary and abstract 

A contemporary artist, the exhibition is a collection of Ono’s work from the past 50 years and includes installations and films. If you are coming along to see pretty pictures then you’ll be disappointed.

Much of Ono’s work is abstract such as the army helmets suspended from the ceiling full with puzzle pieces, and at times can be a little disturbing.

The video, Fly certainly fits the latter description: over many minutes we track the movements of a number of flies as they crawl over every inch of a naked woman’s body and at times the shots are a little too up-close and personal.

Particularly note-worthy are the interactive elements of the exhibition. At the entrance to the Gallery stand five ‘Wish Trees’, where visitors are encouraged to write their wish on a piece of paper and tie it to the trees.


Ono also presents #smilesfilm, a worldwide project encouraging people to upload and send images of themselves smiling, via twitter using the hash-tag #smilesfilm. It has long been an ambition of Ono’s to try and capture the smiles of every single human in the world, and #smilesfilm goes a long way to accomplishing that.

It might not sound entirely like you sort of artwork, but I recommend taking a look at this exhibition. If nothing else you can make a wish, walk through a maze and capture your smile.

Free admission. ‘INTO THE LIGHT’ is on at the Serpentine Gallery (Kensington Gardens) until September 9. Nearest tube: High Street Kensington/Knightsbridge. 

Originally published on the Bowler Hat.

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