On April 18th, Yoko Ono tweeted “The tremendous curiosity I have for life is what is sustaining me. I feel I want to know more, and I know I will. Life is amazing, isn’t it?” It was another life-affirming addition to the 85-year-old artist’s timeline, which Ono has been filling with motivational tweets for the past few years.
In the physical world this past February, Ono opened her three-part installation at the Gardiner Museum in Canada, titled The Riverbed – the show’s third iteration, having originally premiered in New York in 2015. At its core, The Riverbed is about healing.
Set over three stages, the participatory show invites visitors to first hold stones with words such as “dream”, “wish”, and “remember” carved into them. Then they are encouraged to draw lines in notebooks that will take them “to the farthest places” on Earth. Lastly, they are asked to mend broken teacups and saucers with tape, string, and glue, before immersing them back to the show itself – a recurring activity which Ono began incorporating into her work after 9/11, firstly with “Mend Piece For The World”.
Considered one of the pioneers of conceptual art – which places emphasis on meaning rather than aesthetics – Ono has been using instructions in her works for close to six decades. Born in 1933 in Tokyo – moving to New York in the mid-50s – one of Ono’s first exhibited works was “Painting to Be Stepped On” (1960-61), which told visitors to trample on it, either physically or from within their minds. Four years later, Ono published Grapefruit – a compilation of 150 commands, such as, “Carry a bag of peas. Leave a pea wherever you go”, or more simply, “Fly”.
Other notable artworks, such as “Cut Piece” (1965), saw Ono invite participants to cut strips off of her clothing while she sat motionless on the stage at New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall. More recently, she published Acorn, a follow up to Grapefruit which picked up where “it left off”, albeit 50 years later.
However, it’s in recent times that Ono has created somewhat of an archive of self-help-type tweets, which she posts almost daily. In order to make this Monday a little easier, we utilise the best bits of advice as a guide to dealing with all the obstacles that life might throw in your way this week.