Yoko Ono’s 14 rooms @Messe Basel


14 June – 22 June
Messe Basel, Hall 3
Curated by
Hans Ulrich Obrist
Klaus Biesenbach

’14 Rooms’ features works by artists including Marina Abramović, Allora & Calzadilla, Ed Atkins, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Damien Hirst, Joan Jonas, Laura Lima, Bruce Nauman, Otobong Nkanga, Roman Ondák, Yoko Ono, Tino Sehgal, Santiago Sierra, and Xu Zhen.
Additionally two more works by Jordan Wolfson and John Baldessari join the spectacular architectural environment conceived by Herzog & de Meuron, Wolfsons acting as an epilogue, Baldessaris as an archival documentation. Both challenge the very notions of live art and the human experience as set out for ’14 Rooms’.


TOUCH PIECE, 1963/2014
Yoko Ono
Born 1933, Tokyo.
Lives in New York.

Visitors are encouraged to touch one another in the dark. Some may be blindfolded, others may discover pencils to write messages on the walls, challenging each visitors sense of intimacy and privacy.

For over five decades, Yoko Ono has been a challenging artist, poet, and musician, as well as a video and performance artist. By examining the complexity of human emotions from loss and conflict to harmony and love, she experiments with her audiences conception of art and the world in general. In her prolific career she has embraced a wide range of media, constantly creating new forms of artistic expression, challenging the relationship between artist and spectator. She moved to New York in the early 1950s and, being a pioneer in conceptual art, became part of the vibrant avant-garde. It was there she began her instruction series. In 1961 she created instruction paintings where, initially, canvases with various materials and verbal or written instructions were exhibited. The following year she exhibited only the written instructions for the paintings for others to execute in their minds. Around the same time, she staged a series of ground-breaking performances around movement and sounds, and in 1964 she performed Cut Piece in Kyoto and Tokyo, a seminal piece which showed the artist kneeling motionless on the floor. The audience was then invited to come up on stage and to cut off Ono’s clothing with scissors. This act not only raised questions around gender and identity but also symbolized the internal suffering people experience on a daily basis.


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