Interventions 2

Yoko Ono -- Georgian House

The Georgian House is a very pretty old house opposite St Georges concert hall, each room done out in period furniture: Georgian, I shouldn't wonder. For the last month it has been the venue for a small exhibition by Yoko Ono.

Each room in the old building has a small TV set in it; some of them vintage and some of them contemporary. Each TV set is showing one of Yoko's video installations. (Very possibly the TV comes from the decade the film was made in.) To the mild amusement of some of the children at the exhibition, the very famous "Bottoms" is on show in the first room. Bottoms is a six minute black and white film of close ups of famous peoples' can probably work it out. There is also "Match Piece" (a very slowed down film of a match igniting) and "Smile" (an extremely long film of John Lennon's face). "Sky TV" is a conceptual pun: a TV screen showing a view of the sky.

"Cut Piece", a record of a 1965 piece of performance art in which Yoko invited members of the audience to cut off her clothes while she sat impassively on the stage remains relatively powerful; and would presumably have been more so if you had actually been in the room. "Fly", which follows a fly in extreme close up as it flits over a naked female body is momentarily quite interesting; nipples and pubic hair transformed into vast landscapes and edifices, but I didn't stay for the full 25 minutes. The naked person is one Virginia Lust, which I suspect of being a stage-name.

Members of the public are invited to write their wishes for the future on little white labels, which are hung on three trees in the Georgian garden to create an art work called Wishing Tree. "I wish for the peace John and Yoko imagined" "I wish for a baby" "I wish my sister would poo her pants."

I don't think these pieces really work as installations: you just go from room to room saying "Aha, an arse, aha, a titty, aha a lady taking her bra off". They are, if they are anything, cinema pieces: challenging you to look at the screen until you forget that you are looking at someone's bum and just see shapes and colours. Shown on a big screen in the Liverpool museum last year, "Smile" was actually quite interesting and hypnotic, forcing you to pay attention to tiny visual changes; slowing down your perception. Here it is just a small picture of John Lennon on a TV screen.

I venerate Yoko Ono for her life story. I admire her as the primary creative force behind songs like "Imagine" and "Woman is the N-word of the World."  The washed-out, slow motion, black-and-white world she created with John Lennon retains a certain fascination; but this exhibition does not show her in a good light.

No comments: