In Yoko Ono’s Mend Piece (1966/2015), one goes beyond experiencing the artwork, to participating in its creation, to becoming an integral part of it.
In the center of Yoko Ono’s seemingly simple white room cum stage set, fragments of broken china cups and saucers are placed on a table, and viewers are invited to mend them with glue, tape, and string. After mending, the pieces are displayed on shelves.
Mend Piece calls to mind the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. The work encourages participants to transform the fragments of broken china, which are both delicate and dangerous, into new objects. Mend Piece is closely tied to Ono’s beliefs: the contemplative or meditative act of mending is intended to lead to healing of oneself and one’s community, and, further, to healing wounds created by violence and hatred. With straightforward directions, the artist asks participants to let go of pretension and consider larger ideas. Ono’s words may be read on the installation’s wall: “Mend with wisdom/mend with love./It will mend the earth/at the same time.”
Yoko Ono’s work radically questions the division between art and the everyday, the artist and the viewer. Participating in Mend Piece, one experiences Ono’s unique practice both intellectually and physically.
Yoko Ono (b. 1933, Tokyo, Japan) is a multi-media artist working in performance, instruction, film, installation, music, and writing. She was a forerunner and remains a groundbreaking force in conceptual art involving collaboration, audience participation, and social activism.
Presentation period: 12 weeks
Space and materials required (provided by each venue):
- Dedicated gallery or constructed space
- Custom-built Parsons table (48” wide x 120” long)
- 10 matching wooden chairs, painted white
- 2 or more custom-built, wall-bound shelving units
- White porcelain cups and saucers, broken into pieces
- Mending supplies
For booking information, contact Margery King, Curator, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212.988.7700, ext. 246.
Mend Piece is part of ArtRoom, an ongoing series of modern and contemporary art installations organized by the AFA.
ArtRoom makes immersive and experiential art available to a wide range of museums and audiences, while highlighting the work of diverse international artists. It is a resource for cultural institutions seeking to bring a spectrum of installation art to their audiences. The pieces in the series are meant to be experienced individually, rather than as a group exhibition. The AFA will facilitate the realization of each installation in order to ensure its success at each unique venue: liaising with the artist and/or originating collection and the venue; providing a detailed installation plan and equipment (as necessary); and providing guidance for production and installation.
Other works in the series: