Announcing support for Yoko Ono at Whitechapel Gallery

Yoko Ono Mend Piece 1966/2018 You and I, A4 Arts Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa Photo by: Kyle Morland

Press Release

For images and additional information contact: Megan Miller: meganmiller@whitechapelgallery.org 

This press release is available in a variety of accessible formats. Please email as above.

Bagri Foundation is pleased to announce our support for the presentation of the iconic installation Mend Piece by Yoko Ono, displayed at the Whitechapel Gallery from 25 August through to 2 January 2022.

Whitechapel Gallery invites you to ‘mend the world’ this autumn with world famous artist, musician and activist Yoko Ono (b.1933, Japan). 

Upon entering the performative installation, Mend Piece, participants are met with a set of simple instructions: ‘Mend carefully. Think of mending the world at the same time.’ Following the artist’s direction, visitors are welcomed to sit at two long tables where broken fragments of ceramic cups and saucers are presented for repair with scissors, glue, twine and sticky tape. When finished, the ‘mended’ objects are displayed on adjacent shelves. 

Ono first presented her iconic installation in London more than 50 years ago as part of her 1966 solo exhibition at Indica Gallery, a renowned centre for countercultural art. At this time, many of Ono’s artist peers were exploring the techniques and ideas of destruction in their work, partly in response to the destructive politics of the US Vietnam War and the threat presented by the Cold War. In this context, Ono’s invitation to ‘mend’ was radically constructive. 

Today the contemplative act of mending offers a healing respite from the tumultuous concerns of society. Mend Piece draws on the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi, which embraces the beauty in imperfection; for the artist, reparation starts by recognising a flaw or fracture within one’s self or community. The act of reconstruction then becomes a metaphor for a different kind of healing which takes place in the mind and through communal work. 

To ensure visitor safety and peace of mind, the installation at Whitechapel Gallery has been designed to accommodate social distancing. The fragments will be regularly sanitised and a member of staff will be available at all times to assist. 

At the end of the exhibition, select pieces will be given to the artist’s studio to mark the return of Mend Piece to London in 2021 and commemorate the city’s collective handiwork. 

Alessandra Cianetti, Bagri Foundation, Project Manager, says:In a year when mending seems to be what we all need, we at the Bagri Foundation are honoured and humbled to support the presentation of this seminal participatory piece by Yoko Ono in the welcoming spaces of the Whitechapel Gallery. 

#ENDS#

NOTES TO EDITORS

For further press information, interviews and images about Mend Pieces contact:

Megan Miller / +44 (0)20 7522 3315 / meganmiller@whitechapelgallery.org – Carrie Rees at Rees & Co / carrie@reesandco.com 

For questions directed at the Bagri Foundation / press@bagrifoundation.org

About Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono was born in Tokyo in 1933 before moving to the US with her family in the mid-1950s. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College, she quickly became a catalytic figure within the avant-garde music scene in New York, hosting an influential series of concerts and art installations in her downtown loft featuring the likes of Simone Forti, Jackson Mac Low, Robert Morris and La Monte Young. Over the ensuing decade she lived in New York, London and Tokyo, influencing the development of both Fluxus and Conceptual art, through her instruction, film and performance-based work. From the late 1960s she collaborated with husband and musician John Lennon on experimental pop music releases and anti-Vietnam war campaigns that imaginatively took advantage of her growing international fame. In more recent years she has made full use of digital and social platforms to promote activist causes, always rooted in messages of peace and universal creativity. . In 2009 she received the Golden Lion award at Venice Biennale for lifetime achievement.

About Whitechapel Gallery

For over a century the Whitechapel Gallery has premiered world-class artists from modern masters such as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Frida Kahlo and Hannah Höch to contemporaries such as Zarina Bhimji, Sophie Calle, William Kentridge, Eduardo Paolozzi and Michael Rakowitz. Its historic campus houses exhibitions, artist commissions, collection displays, historic archives, education resources, inspiring art courses, talks and film screenings, the Townsend dining room and the Koenig Bookshop. It is a touchstone for contemporary art internationally, plays a central role in London’s cultural landscape and is pivotal to the continued growth of the world’s most vibrant contemporary art quarter.

About the Bagri Foundation

The Bagri Foundation is a UK registered charity, inspired by unique and unexpected ideas that weave the traditional and the contemporary of Asian culture. The Foundation, with its roots in education, is driven by curiosity and a desire to learn, and aims for each project to challenge, engage and inspire. Through a diverse programme of film, visual arts, music, dance, literature and talks, the Bagri Foundation gives artists and experts from across Asia and the diaspora, wider visibility on the global stage. Recent projects include Tantra: enlightenment to revolution at the British Museum; Anicka Yi at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia; Asia Forum for the Contemporary Art of Global Asias and Nikhil Chopra at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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