Yoko Ono Half-a-Wind Show, retrospective in Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao)

The conceptual artist Yoko Ono celebrates its 80th anniversary with the major retrospective of his work so far. "Half-a-Wind Show" can be seen at the Guggenheim in Bilbao until 4 September.
"The blame for everything has Yoko Ono ..." the sarcastic refrain of a Spanish group is referred to the bad opinion that the people usually had about this independent artist who crossed in the life of Beatle John Lennon to give peace and love and, according to most critics, she stepped him away from the music, definitely separated him from his companions and definitely destroyed the band from Liverpool. 
 
Time, however, has given Yoko Ono (Tokyo, February 18, 1933) a truce and his work has outweighed the legend of "the Black Widow". The prove is the figure of about 320,000 people who have already gone through the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to see the largest retrospective of the artist so far, "Half-A-Wind Show", an exhibition showing the history of this pioneer of the Conceptual Art with nearly 200 objects, films, documentation of performances, installations, drawings, photographs, fine text and audio to paint a complete portrait of Yoko Ono and with what she wants to celebrate his 80th birthday.
 

The starting point of this exhibition is the book A Book of Instructions and Drawings, published by the artist in 1970 and in which a number of recommendations and instructions are shelled for the public to better enjoy his work and that these guidelines "are indications that unfold a whole world of things, assign the public a more active role than usual in the art world, because without the real or mental participation of the viewer, most of the works are considered incomplete "as explains in the exhibition.

And the main component of his work are the ideas, not the materials or techniques, ideas that become in spaces, objects, actions, images, performances often with a message of social criticism but also with a great sense of humor and optimism. In fact, Lennon felt in love with her thanks to her installation "Ceiling Painting" (1966) that can be seen in Bilbao. In this installation, the viewer must climb a wooden staircase to get close to the ceiling where it hangs a magnifying glass with which can see a tiny (but inmense) post in the ceiling: "YES / SI". 
 
"Words are powerful and influence your mind," claimed the artist in the presentation of the Guggenheim retrospective, "I said YEAH in the 60's, what about it provocation? It was provocative art ".

The exhibition is divided into sections and begins with the most important works of 1960, the first actions and performances, works on paper, ready-mades and objects strongly influenced by the New York avant-garde of the era and artists like musician John Cage, George Maciunas, founder of the Fluxus movement, or the filmmaker Jonas Mekas.

The exhibition does not forget the musical and film side of Yoko Ono, with her works in collaboration with John Lennon and more recent work, as the album that recorded two years ago with the American Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, or his bizarre version of the Katy Perry's song Fireworks, which Yoko performed at the MoMA in New York. The last section presents its latest facilities and participatory works, some of them designed especially for this retrospective. 
 
In case of doubt whether if it is worth or not going to see this exhibition, it is best to take the "Yoko option": YES, YES, always.

 

The CEART opens this Thursday, November 14th in the room A an exhibition dedicated to this master of photography, which will be open to the public until February 9th. The show includes one of the artist's latest projects, focused on the hard work carried out by the miners of Serra Pelada, an open gold mine in the heart of Brazil where employees daily risked their lives.

Immigration, poverty, marginal life, slave labour, man's relationship with the land, the use of natural resources... are issues that have always fascinated Salgado. From the beginning of his career as a photographer, his work has opted to give visibility to the most disadvantaged groups and to create with his images a vivid and impressive visual story without fakes. With a raw black and white, this author's work transits between photo-reportage and naturalistic photography.

And the idea that permeates all his work is human dignity. Salgado portrays employees, miners and gatherers from a purely humanistic approach that wants to value their integrity, their strength and their resilience.

“If you photograph a human, so that he is not represented in a noble way, there is no reason to take the picture. That is my way of seeing things.”

Salgado entered this discipline long after completing his studies in economics between Brazil and the United States, and a doctorate in statistics in France. But in 1973 his life took a turn, and he decided to start his career as a photographer. He achieved to work at the Gamma Agency and Magnum Photos for more than 15 years until in 1994 he founded his own agency “Amazonas Imagen”.

With the “Gold” project, the photographer portrays a harsh reality that takes place in the Serra Pelada mine, a name given to a totally devastated and anarchically excavated mining enclave, the world's largest open-pit gold mine, through which more than 50,000 people have passed. In the heat of the legends about the mysterious “El Dorado”, the enthusiasm for this precious metal led to the development of strenuous exploitation practices for the workers and to originate tales of grief and glory, of human victory and defeat between the soil, the tunnels and the cargo baskets.

The CEART exhibition brings together Salgado's full portfolio in his characteristical black and white and large-format photographs that leave no one indifferent.