Think of repairing the world
At the same time
are the instructions for Yoko Ono’s Repair piece to London which is currently on display in a small and brightly lit white room in the Whitechapel Gallery. This work was first presented as Repair piece 1 at her solo exhibition in 1966 Yoko and Indica in the Indica Gallery. The concept is that the exhibition should be completed by visitors’ actions and draw inspiration from the Japanese tradition kintsugi The art of repairing broken pottery using a varnish mixed with precious metals, which seeks to decorate and care for fractures as an important part of an object’s history, instead of seeking to hide it.
Based on my previous experience with Mrs. Ono’s oeuvre, my expectations were surpassed by this piece of work. I think the interactive element is effective and the way the ‘repaired’ service is displayed stacked on shelves is striking, especially since the walls, shelves, ceramics and string are practically the same white hue as when layered against each other, gives a sterile atmosphere. It is easy to find solace in the creativity and uniqueness of the previously ruined pottery.
The exhibition offers long tables covered with a selection of ceramic fragments as well as typical repair materials: glue, string, scissors and tape, where you are encouraged to sit down and join. Although my time was limited, I found the process really entertaining, and it felt meditative to put these items back together in my own way, and it was mind-numbing to be able to obey the rules of its previous function, which added a sense of accomplishment.
I would highly recommend visiting the Whitechapel Gallery and this exhibition.