As part of the London 2012 festival, The Serpentine Gallery has invited international art icon and activist Yoko Ono to exhibit a major retrospective of her work. Spanning the artist’s 50 year career, the exhibition covers both classic and newer works, including Smile, Ono’s large-scale participatory video project.
Ono’s work continually exudes a lightness of execution and expression. Emphasizing the delicate placement of elements in each work, she blends her minimalist execution with an altruistic worldview that has defined her career, a sort of innocent, universal humanism that glorifies the body, human joy, pacifism and personal interaction. In one room, piles of soil from various unmarked countries stand alongside posters from her highly publicized “War Is Over” installations done in collaboration with her late husband and former Beatle, John Lennon. In conversation, the elements quickly destroy notions of nationalism of in favor of an all-encompassing pacifism.
Also on view is Smile, a recently completed project composed of submitted shots of smiling faces from around the world. Combining this universal image of happiness, Ono again creates a common bond, seeking to bring disparate populi together through their own shared expression.
Showcasing her diverse body of work over the last half-century, “To The Light” serves as both a major summary of Ono’s contributions to the world of contemporary art, as well as a prime introduction to her work for younger generations previously not aware of her work. The show is on view until September 9th.