ASAKUSA is delighted to announce the two-person exhibition "Acting Together" with artists Yoko Ono and Rirkrit Tiravanija, involving emerging Asia artists in the reenactment and tribute to their performance works. The exhibition will focus on key strategies associated with avant-garde histories - live interventions through constructed situations, subversive uses of the media spectacle, love for games, and grassroots actions - which playfully expand the conceptual horizon of the artists’ practices. Taking their scores and instructions as a starting point, “Acting Together” seeks to activate the proposals of Ono and Tiravanija towards unrestricted universality and a legacy of reconnecting people to the everyday foundation of their social realities. While reflecting on historical events of solidarity and revolt, the exhibition also considers the possibilities and potentialities of acting together as a means to expand a resilient network of people, and to secure basic shelter and habitation.
A renowned artist, musician, and life-long advocate for feminism and world peace, Yoko Ono
(b.1933) is a central figure of Fluxus whose collective spirit promoted art as a site of audience interaction, amongst other hybrid approaches. Moving between multinational artists communities in London, Tokyo and New York, Ono initiated her text-based practices mediated by Oriental thinking, and composed Grapefruit
(1964) - a selection of 100 haiku-like instructions or event scores that awakens reader's imagination and reflective actions. In 1969, Ono married celebrated musician John Lennon, and they staged their honeymoon as a press event - converting the anticipated publicity to promote nonviolent resistance to the Vietnam War, and occupying the media. In the presidential suite of the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam, the couple wore pyjamas to sit in bed for a week and discuss world peace with international press reporters. A modest gesture became a widely publicised call for peacemaking, altering the boundaries between private and public actions. Bed Peace
(1969) expressed Ono’s radical pacifism in support of civil rights and the antiwar movement, as well as shared concerns toward community building free from the interference of the state's power.
Born in Argentina and raised in Thailand, Ethiopia and Canada, Rirkrit Tiravanija (b.1961) lived under the formative condition of our global age in which mobility became a catalyst for the conception of communities, and the networks of acquaintances and friendships within them. For his 154-minute film shot in Super 16 mm, Lung Neaw Visits His Neighbors (2011), the artist returns to his native land in order to portray the life of a retired farmer as a local sage holding a calm resigned attitude towards nature. In this enduring and sustained moment of life, the protagonist Lung Neaw appears as a man without enemies living in harmony within the picturesque landscapes of the Thai countryside. Tiravanija reveals his holistic view of the world, and seeks to apply an understanding of the integral diversity of ecosystems, as well as the sustenance of self awareness and sufficiency in compassion and humility. In parallel to the film, and presented in Japanese language, is a new edition of the artist's poster, Do Not Ever Work (2016), this being a quote from the graffitti that Guy Debord (1931-1994) painted on a Parisian street wall in 1953. Via Debord’s gesture, Tiravanija returns to the present issues that were tackled by the Situationist International - a critique of labour power and capital relations leading towards an appeal to the fundamental values of community.
The challenges of the avant-garde instigate constant and uninterrupted disturbances of all social relations, everlasting uncertainty, and agitation. These problems are raised anew by social art practices and Relational Aesthetics - blurring and breaking the barrier that separates individuals with their communities; humans and nature, implying the multicultural aesthetics and spirituality of re-connecting. The exhibition seeks to pose the following questions: How art can support the emergence of social solidarity? What legacy of the recent - often failed - utopian actions might be reworked in the contemporary left? How is it possible to advance a liberatory new attitude in culture and everyday life?
"Acting Together" is curated by ASAKUSA, based on a perspective proposed by Nicolas Bourriaud's Relational Aesthetics (1998). The exhibition involves tribute performances drawn from Yoko Ono's Grapefruit (1964), and renactment of Rirkrit Tiravanija's culinary actions following his instruction recipe in the artists' compilation book, Do It: The Compendium (2013), edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist.
(b.1933, Tokyo) is a multimedia and performance artist, singer, songwriter, and peace activist. Ono’s artistic formats have varied from visual art, music, film, performance, and poetry. She is often associated with Fluxus and the early Conceptual art of the 1960s and as a precursor to the Feminist art. She has staged performances worldwide including Cut Piece
(1965) and participatory projects such as Wish Tree
(1981-). Her recent exhibitions include: “Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971” at Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2015; “YOKO ONO: FROM MY WINDOW” at Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, 2015; “Y E S YOKO ONO”, organized by the Japan Society in New York which traveled to 6 cities in North America, 2000- 2002, and Asia, including 5 cities in Japan (Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Hiroshima Contemporary Art Museum, Mito Art Center, etc.), 2003-2004. In 2009, Ono participated in the Venice Biennale and received the Golden Lion award for Lifetime Achievement. She has released music albums including: "Yoko Ono/Plastic OnoBand", 1970; and "Double Fantasy", 1980, with John Lennon which won the 1981 Album of the Year at the 24th Annual Grammy Awards. She studied Philosophy at Gakushuin University, Tokyo; and Music at Sarah Lawrence College, New York. Ono lives and works in New York.
Rikrit Tiravanija (b.1961, Buenos Aires) is a contemporary artist whose works concern the individual’s experience of the communal, where he often invites viewers to socialise and inhabit the space. His solo exhibitions have been shown at public institutions including: Reiña Sofia, Madrid, 1994; Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1997; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1999; Serpentine Gallery, London, 2005; Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, 2009; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2012; and Brooklyn Museum, New York, 2017. He has participated in numerous bienniales including Venice Biennale, 1999, 2003 and 2015; Whitney Biennial, 1995 and 2005; Liverpool Biennial, 2002 and 2004; São Paulo Bienal, 2006; Gwangju Biennale, 2012; Sharjah Biennal, 2015. In Japan, he had individual exhibitions at Sumida River Project, Asahi Beer, Tokyo, 2002; Opera City Gallery, Tokyo, 2002; CCA Kitakyushu, 2001; amongst others. He is recognized with numerous awards such as Gordon Matta Clark Foundation Award, Lucelia Artist Award, and Hugo Boss Prize. He received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently on the faculty in the School of Visual Arts at Columbia University, New York. Tiravanija lives and works in New York, Berlin, and Chiang Mai.
Yuki Kobayashi (b.1990, Tokyo) is an artist whose action-based performance seek to reveal the authenticity of the human condition, working with the spontaneous to discover the invisible. Questioning both power and restrictive social codes towards a more uncertain world of freedom and equality. He recently made a tribute performance to Yoko Ono at White Cube, London, 2015. Kobayashi holds an MA from the Royal College of Art, London. He lives and works in Tokyo and London.
Akiyoshi Nitta (b.1993, Hiroshima) is a contemporary dancer, and a recent returnee from P.A.R.T.S. - Performing Arts Research and Training Studios, Training Cycle 2013-2016, Brussels. His past works include: "Six Potentiality" with Fabrice Mazliah; "Dawn" with Marten Spångberg; and "Untitled" with Andara. Nitta lives and works in Tokyo.
Yen Noh (b.1983, Daegu) takes language and translation as her themes in producing installation and speech-performance, both of which relevantly face each other in a space. Her major projects include “Aveugle Voix”, das weisse haus, Vienna, Austria, 2016; and “Voice Over Three, Part I: The First Letter”, Heiligenkreuzhof, Vienna, Austria, 2014. She holds an MFA from the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Noh lives and works in Vienna.
Yen Noh is currently in Japan for:
ARCUS Project 2016 IBARAKI｜Artist-In-Residence Program
Asakusa is a 40-square-meter exhibition venue
for contemporary art programmes committed to advancing curatorial collaborations and practices. Since it's inauguration in October 2015, the gallery has worked with Mikhail Karikis, Héctor Zamora, and Oliver Beer. Asakusa held the archival exhibition "1923" tracing the footsteps of early Japanese avant-garde in the 1920s, with a particular focus on the influence of Dada in Tokyo, which paved way to the Proletariat Art in the 1930s. Their most recent exhibition, "Radical Democracy" with Thomas Hirschhorn & Santiago Sierra, was co-curated with Dr. Masaru Araki, Okayama University.
Asakusa opens three days a week:
Saturday and Sunday 12:00 - 19:00
Location: 1-6-16 Nishi-Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo
For press info and images: Koichiro Osaka / firstname.lastname@example.org