Yoko Ono curates Meltdown

Yoko Ono

photo: Alexander Plyuschev

Meltdown on the South Bank runs from 14th to 23rd June, and this year it’s being curated by Japan’s most famous living artist (quite a leap from ‘the world’s most famous unknown artist’ as John Lennon called her), Yoko Ono. She’s eighty years old, doesn’t look a day over fifty, and is still full of energy and subversive ideas. Expect controversy at Meltdown with a couple of her most famous performance art works on the bill.

Meltdown is a festival that brings an eclectic range of performers to the Southbank Centre. This year it includes Siouxsie’s first live outing for five years, a sell-out concert by Marianne Faithfull and another by Boy George, and the ever popular silent disco outside the Royal Festival Hall featuring Jonathan Ross, Neneh Cherry, Peaches and Micachu.

Japanese performers are well represented. There’s an experimental live project by Oscar-nominated composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence) and German producer Alva Noto.

Alva Noto and Ryuichi SakamotoThere’ll be a show by Cibo Matto (Italian for Crazy Food), a New York based band formed by two Japanese women, Miho Hatori (who appeared on the Gorillaz hit single ’19-2000′ and the first Gorillaz album) and Yuka C. Honda.

Cibo MattoElectronic percussionist Ikue Mori appears with experimental duo Body/Head, while Satomi Matsuzaki plays bass and sings with noise band Deerhoof, ‘one of the most original rock bands to have come along in the last decade’ according to the New York Times.

Deerhoof

Photo: Marcelo Teson

Meltdown kicks off on 14th June with a show by Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band, including Ono herself and her son, Sean Ono Lennon, at 7:30pm in the Royal Festival Hall. Tickets £30, £35, £40.

Yoko Ono Plastic Ono BandThere is also a rare chance to see two of Ono’s historic works as a performance artist, Cut Piece (performed by Peaches) and Instructions (performed by Stacy Makishi).

Ono first performed Cut Piece in 1964 at the Sogetsu Art Centre in Tokyo, but it was the performance the following year at Carnegie Hall in New York which made it famous. Ono sat on a stage wearing a black dress with a pair of scissors by her side and invited audience members to cut off pieces of her clothing and take them away. The piece ends, according to Ono’s instructions, when nothing more can be cut, or when the performer decides that the piece has ended.

Here’s an extract from the 1965 Cut Piece:

Electro-punk singer and performance artist Peaches will re-enact Cut Piece on 16th June at 6pm in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Tickets £10.

Peaches

Photo: Michael

On the closing weekend Hawaiian performance artist Stacy Makishi will enact and re-interpret Instructions in the Clore Ballroom at the Royal Festival Hall.

Stacy Makishi

Photo: Vick Ryder

Makishi will take her inspiration from Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit, published in 1964 and her new book of instructional poetry and art, Acorn, which comes out this June.

GrapefruitGrapefruit is a conceptual art piece containing a series of ‘event scores’ that replace the physical work of art with instructions that an individual may, or may not, wish to enact Here’s an example:

Go on transforming a square canvas
in your head until it becomes a
circle. Pick out any shape in the
process and pin up or place on the
canvas an object, a smell, a sound
or a colour that came to your mind
in association with the shape.

Instructions is a free event and Makishi will issue instructions three times daily, at 1pm, 2.30pm & 4pm on 22nd and 23rd June.

Full details of all events on the Meltdown website.

Yoko Ono

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