Yoko Ono & John Lennon: Dreaming Peace

To all our friends…

we’re inviting you on the exhibition opening of Yoko Ono & John Lennon Dreaming Peace in the Rigo Gallery on 5th of July 2017, at 9 p.m.

9:30 – 11 p.m. // aterparty at the Museum park: Power to the people party

participants: Museum stuff, Josip radić & Goran Rubeša
decoration of the Museum park: Kućna Radinost – Nerina Savian

Dresscode: flower power

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Thank you Oko

The first recollection associated with John Lennon is very clear in my mind. I was a child.
During a trip to Corsica with my family, travelling in an old Golf Cabriolet, we were listening to the Beatles music cassettes, but mostly to Imagine. Shouting it at the top of my voice, singing it in an invented English without understanding the meaning of the lyrics that I heard and emulated.
My interest in John Lennon has never faded away and his songs accompanied the whole of my adolescence, which, by studying English, enabled me to grasp the meaning of the words sung years ago.
The same ones listened to during the student demonstrations, the war processions against the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and the years of high school occupations to protest against the power of adults who wanted to decide our future. They have been inspirational and have become part of our slogans.
The fact that we used to sing the songs embracing each other united and strengthened the need to protest. Words and ideas that seemed so revolutionary at that time.
Yoko Ono came later.
If truth be told, she has always been there because art has been part of my life since the very beginning.
By studying contemporary art at the university I became aware of her relevance as a member of the Fluxus movement. A cultured and independent woman who helped John to live a world full of political, artistic and social contents, beyond the fantastic experience he lived with the Beatles.
I learned to know John and Yoko thoroughly during my trips to London.
One in particular, the one taken to relive the places of that artistic deed, with the secret ambition to produce a documentary on them, which Yoko, through his lawyers, had approved. But for the moment it has remained a desire to be achieved.
John and Yoko’s London is the one of those small shops of records and books scattered between Berwick Street, Portobello Road, Notting Hill and Charing Cross Road, full of unexpected memorabilia. A small treasure hunt that created our collection, which is now partially exhibited at the Rigo Gallery.
No shimmering Beatles are displayed here, but some things that John and Yoko have produced as writers, poets, drawers, directors, performers, artists, musicians and social stirrers, proving that art and life can coincide.
Thank you Yoko!

– Francesca Zattoni

Dreaming Peace

Yoko Ono and John Lennon invited to have dreams of world peace with War is over! in 1971. Now, that action of protest against the war in Vietnam by sticking up 6×3 mt. placards in various capitals is topical more than it has ever been before. The war seems to be coming up although it has never ended. The unarmed war is not a less dangerous one.
One must never stop dreaming of peace, at full strength, even fighting for it.
In 2009, when Yoko Ono was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 53rd Venice Biennale the placard DREAM was stuck up in several Italian cities such as Bologna, Milan, Padua, Rome, Venice and Verona.
The same thing was repeated during the exhibition Women in Fluxus & Other Experimental Tales. Eventi Partiture Performances in Reggio Emilia in 2012.
In a contemporary reality pervaded by images and continuous visual stimuli, someone defined this work created by Yoko Ono as a will to suggest new possibilities, thus leaving room for personal interpretations of the reality.
The exhibition Dreaming Peace at the Rigo Gallery starts from the placard as a means of communication to present some of the works created by two of the most original artists of the 20th century, because the theme of war is getting more and more topical and one must imagine, by any means, the peace.
Everybody knows John Lennon as a creator, along with the Beatles, of the musical revolution occurred in the 1960s. But would the artist we all know for some of his masterpieces have been the same hadn’t he met Yoko Ono? The exhibition aims to stimulate this reflection.
Much has been written about John Lennon, all about the musician, much less about the artist. He was dedicated the first exhibition The Art of John Lennon Drawings, Performances, Films by the Kunsthalle Bremen in 1995 and Yoko Ono could not but be included in the catalogue published by Thames and Hudson, London.
Yoko Ono has been particularly known for the responsibility she has been assigned for the Beatles’ dissolution. John Lennon we have been acquainted with had actually two faces, the one before and the other one after meeting Yoko. Thanks to her, the extraordinary musician developed into an artist able to share an artistic, political and social commitment leaving a strong mark in the history of art of the second half of the twentieth century, starting with the ‘War is over’ action.
One has to wonder if Imagine would have ever been written without Yoko.
Yoko Ono is a Fluxus artist of utmost international importance.
George Maciunas, deceased in 1976, was a US nationalized Lithuanian artist considered the founder of Fluxus, an international artistic movement made up of artists, architects, composers and designers.
Fluxus claims the intrinsic artistry of the most common and elementary gestures and promotes the transgression of the creative act into the flow of everyday life, on behalf of a total art that prefers music, dance, poetry, theatre, performance, politics as spheres of its expression. And it is precisely here that happenings are born, places where art takes on antidogmatic and libertarian forms, and where the user has a non-neutral role.
Among the main members there are John Cage, Nam Jume Paik, Yoko Ono, Wolf Vostell, Joseph Beuys, Charlotte Mormann, Ben Vautier and Giuseppe Chiari, Sylvano Bussotti, Gianni Emilio Simonetti and Gianni Sassi in Italy.
Yoko Ono was born in Tokyo in 1933 as the heir to one of the most important Japanese bankers’ families. After the World War II, the family moved to the United States, visited art galleries and participated in happenings but painting was not her only interest: she had a great passion for music. In 1956 she married the composer Toshi Ichiyanagi, whom she divorced immediately from to marry Anthony Cox, a jazz musician and filmmaker.
She has been among the first members of Fluxus since the early 1960s. An example of her performances is Cut Piece, during which she was sitting on a stage inviting the public to cut off the clothes she had on until left naked. Another example of conceptual art is the Grapefruit (1964) a book with surreal Zen-style instructions.
Yoko Ono and John Lennon met at the preview of her exhibition at the Indica Gallery in London in November 1966. Lennon was influenced by the irony and interactivity of the exhibited works, such as the installation featuring a ladder in front of a black canvas and by means of mirrors the word Yes could be read. There was also a real apple exposed with the Apple plaque. When Lennon came to know that the price of the apple was 200 pounds he thought it was a joke, but he thought it was fun. They started dating two years later.
The exhibition is structured in a way that makes it accessible to a wide audience, since it is not artwork but material altered by the mass media language, where art itself coincides with the lives of two great artists such as John And Yoko, providing a wider view to realize who John Lennon really was.

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Visualisation of the world through images

French philosopher Alain Badiou, said that real love is one that triumphs lastingly, sometimes painfully, over the hurdles erected by time, space and the world. The love of John Lennon and Yoko Ono triumphs over time, it is a story about a unique couple eternalised in the structure of cultural communication. Fascinating, sentimental, tragic, even somewhat melancholic, this story fits perfectly into the concept of – as we call it today – visualisation of the world through images. Mostly by means of photography, which is, following Susan Sontag, the one art that has managed to carry out the grandiose, century-old threats of a Surrealist take-over of the modern sensibility, while most of the pedigreed candidates have dropped out of the race. Namely, photographs may be more memorable than moving images because they are a neat slice of time in which the way of seeing turns into experience.
Exhibition Dreaming Peace is one of such experiences, in which visual media fill the lacunas in our mental images of present and past. They tell us a story of the past which is still present, the story about the two great artists who had invested their love for each other and their artistic work into a passionate appeal for giving world a chance to become a better and a more peaceful place. However, the camera’s rendering of reality must always hide more than it discloses. In contrast to the amorous relation, which is based on how something looks, understanding is based on how it functions. And functioning takes place in time, must be explained in time. Only that which narrates can make us understand.
Roland Barthes, another French philosopher, also wanted to understand what Photography was “in itself” and, despite its tremendous contemporary expansion, he was not sure that Photography existed, that it had a “genius” of its own. For Barthes, the photograph itself, as an object, is in no way animated, “lifelike”, but something that animates the observer: and this is what creates every adventure. Works shown in the exhibition Dreaming Peace take us on a powerful adventure of a love and art still triumphant all over the world. Ultimately, such are the ways the art works. Following Barthes, the choice if ours: shall we subject its spectacle to the civilized code of perfect illusions, or confront in it the wakening of reality waiting to be understood.

// Alain Badiou Pohvala ljubavi, Susan Sontag O fotografiji, Roland Barthes Svijetla komora – bilješke o fotografiji //

– Dina Kamber

► Catalog: DREAMING PEACE_katalog_Galerija Rigo