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.

 

Thirteen years have passed since its beginnings, and in all this time the Video Art Festival PROYECTOR has grown and consolidated its position as an essential event in this discipline. Since its inception, the initiative has tried to give visibility to a discipline that has always been relegated to the background in the usual exhibition circuits. Although video creation is not new, since it emerged by its own in the 60s of last century, the way to get to know it and enjoy it has not always been easy. On many occasions, the exhibitions only included a few isolated pieces within the main route, as if the video was the anecdotal contribution to the whole. However, our daily lives are invaded by moving images, and there is a paradox that video art, despite being a format of artistic expression very much in tune with the habits of today's society, remains a minority discipline

Frame from “Hel City”, by Gregorio Méndez Sáez, 2019

To some extent, PROYECTOR was born to reverse this situation, to value video as a creative format and to offer a wide, itinerant space to host a multitude of proposals, coming from inside and outside our borders. In this time, the growth of the festival has led it to travel the world, but also, to be a benchmark that each year arouses more interest. In the open call to receive proposals, they reach almost half a thousand, and a hundred works selected by the jury are a representative sample of different ways of understanding video creation, with pieces mainly from Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

In turn, PROYECTOR wants to be more than a video showcase and offers a large program with talks, workshops, masterclasses, meetings with artists, visits and concerts. A complete experience that always has the moving image as a backdrop.

El Instante Francisco Ruiz de Infante. El bosque que se mueve (errores de medida)

In this evolution, another circumstance stands out: video is a creative format that has its own codes, but it is also one of the disciplines most open to artistic hybridization and the widening of uses. The video may, therefore, be the genuine idea of an author who conceives an autonomous project to be carried out in this format, but it can also be the complementary result of an action or the documentary record of a previous performance being recorded to guarantee its survival. The versatility of the moving image and the potential that it has acquired in recent years allows us today to speak of numerous branches of art that focus on the fusion of languages and the integration of techniques and methodologies from other sectors, and in many of them, the video is still a cornerstone. So it is with technological art, interactive sound art, performance recording, the transformation from big data to image, artificial intelligence, and a long etcetera. Precisely for this reason, PROYECTOR offers a panoramic vision of this reality, with an extremely interesting program that plays with the variety and wealth of proposals.

Frame from “Herdança”, by Thiago Rocha Pitta, 2007

The 2020 edition will run from September 9th to 20th. As usual, the program displays in various venues throughout the city of Madrid, each of which will house a small section of the activities. This year the festival will count with the collaboration of the Casa Árabe, White Lab, Cruce, El Instante Fundación, ¡ésta es una PLAZA!, Extensión AVAM (Matadero Madrid), Institut Français de Madrid, Medialab Prado, Quinta del Sordo, Sala Alcalá 31, Sala El Águila, Secuencia de Inútiles and White Lab, in addition to the collaboration of the INELCOM Collection and the video art collection of Teresa Sapey.

The festival is also the ideal place to articulate the cultural fabric, since it involves numerous professionals in the sector, from curators to creators, from centres managers to critics and teachers. The 2020 program also has the collaboration of the FUSO Festival and the Museo Reina Sofía, which are providing some of their pieces for the exhibition.

In short, an appointment that lovers of contemporary art should not miss and that promises many novelties in this 13th edition.