When I told a friend I had just visited Yoko Ono’s exhibition, she said, “Oh right, that chick... John Lennon’s...”
Ono is an artist, with her own exhibition called “War is Over (if you want it to be)” and is open at the Museum of Contemporary Art until this Sunday. It's a shame that Parisa and I don't often go to museums or galleries. We should. Ono’s exhibition, in particular, presents a diversity in mediums, making it something for everyone - whether you prefer artworks to absorb from afar, or those that you can feel and play with. The exhibition prompts us to use all of our human senses – not a bad trait.
The underlying ideas behind Ono’s exhibition about peace, war, and humanity brought me mixed feelings. The title itself is provocative. Is the war really over? The artworks, to me, say no. The graininess of the films, dark shadows in the rooms, and Yoko Ono’s ever-wearisome expression all threaten a feeling of lost hope. When I walk around the artworks, I think, “The war isn’t over. It’s up to humans to stop it, but it’s still happening.” If the war was really over, her exhibition would lose effect. Her art yearns for peace, but there is none. The presence of John Lennon in her artworks left Parisa and I feeling as though there may be a lack of peace within Ono herself.
Our favourite artwork is called “Play It By Trust”, an interactive chess installation first created in 1966. We weren’t keen on reading the pamphlets they give you at the start of the exhibition, so we didn’t know the work’s meaning until we actually participated. At first, Parisa and I thought not much of it. Oh, white chess sets, you can play them. Cool. But when we came to the artwork again later, we decided to give it a go. After a few turns, it was Parisa who suddenly looked up and said, “Wait, we can’t play this.” I asked why, puzzled, and still thinking about my next maneuver. She said, “All the pieces are white, how do we know which pieces are whose?”. It was then that we realised - we, as humans, are all the same - and as Parisa put forward "There's simply no point in competing". Well played, Ono.