Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Yoko Ono Private View, Serpentine Gallery

I've gotten here too early - I'm a guest at the regular old Private View for the plebs and there is still half an hour of the Special Private View (for the Special People) before I can go in. I've persuaded the lady with the list to let me into the compound to sit and get a drink. (Don't want too much mingling of the plebs and the VIPs). I'm trying to see whether I recognise any of the special people, but at the moment I'm not sure that they aren't all plebs waiting for our time... Maybe I should get nearer. They've just relaid the lawn and there are stewards on every corner trying to keep the crowd from spilling onto the grass.

There are rich Knightsbridge people here - you can tell by the clothes and the shoes and the mwah mwahing on air cheeks. There are some fabric designers sitting next to me talking about clients, contracts and designs.

The Work

A film, in real time, of Yoko's eye staring you out. She doesn't blink for a really long time. Finally she closes her eye, slowly. It looks painful to do it. Then it opens again and starts staring once more.

Two films showing opposite each other. Both called cut piece, one from 1965, the other from 2003. The audience is invited to cut the clothes off Yoko. She is still and deadpan. People snip small bits of fabric off. Until someone goes for it and cuts something big off (in 1965 it's her slip which reveals her brassier, in 2003 it's her skirt which leaves her sitting in bra and pants). These things happen quite far into both films and by that time I was outraged by someone coming up and exposing her so suddenly. Somehow the 60s version felt more exploitative.

Fly on a nipple film - totally freaked me out, and some other woman standing next to me. Close up of bottoms walking - reminded me how I like that bit of a person. Quite like to feel a bottom as it walks along (if someone will let you!)

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