From the MAO archive: Yoko Ono in 1997

For the fifth post in our #MAOarchive series we are celebrating legendary artist Yoko Ono. Have you seen the horizon lately? was Ono’s major solo exhibition at the gallery in 1997.

Yoko Ono at Modern Art Oxford, 1997. © Modern Art Oxford
Yoko Ono, Beat Piece, 1963. © Yoko Ono

The show brought together photographs, performances, films, paintings and sound works spanning 38 years. Among these were a selection of Ono’s ‘instruction paintings’, a series of typewritten guides inviting the viewer to participate in the work either through their imagination or through physical enactments. Beat Piece instructed the viewer to ‘Listen to a heart beat.’ The work featured again at the gallery in 2016 to mark our 50th birthday.

Yoko Ono, Have you seen the horizon lately?, Modern Art Oxford 1997. © Modern Art Oxford

A founding member of Fluxus in New York, Ono also became an important figure of the British avant-garde. Her experimental ‘Film No. 4’ better known as ‘Bottoms’ – screened every day during this show – had been made, premiered and then banned in London in 1967. Another piece completed in London was ‘Ceiling Painting (Yes)’ (1966). Installed on the ceiling, a framed piece of paper displayed the word ‘yes’. Visitors were invited to climb a stepladder and read the letters using a magnifying glass.

Yoko Ono, Ceiling Painting (Yes), 1966. © Modern Art Oxford

One of Ono’s ‘Wish Trees’ has also featured at the gallery. In this ongoing series a tree native to a site is planted under her direction. Visitors were invited to: “Make a wish. Write it down on a piece of paper. Fold it and tie it around a branch of a Wish Tree. Ask your friends to do the same. Keep wishing. Until the branches are covered with wishes.”

Why not start your own wish tree? Share your photos with us on Instagram using the hashtag #CreativeConnections #ModernArtOxford

Follow #MAOarchive on Instagram to discover more memories from the gallery’s history.

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