(b. 1933, Tokyo; lives and works in New York)

Cut Piece, 1964
Courtesy of the artist

Pioneering performance artist Yoko Ono was one of the first to use instructions as a method of creating artworks. Event scores, the use of which would become widespread within the Fluxus movement and conceptualism, were more like Zen kōans (parables) in terms of their impact and paradoxicality when used by Ono. The anti-war 1964 performance Cut Piece, in which viewers were invited to climb on stage and cut off a piece of clothing from the motionless, seated artist, combined a pacifist message with implicit aggression and violence. Repeated many times in different cities across the globe, this performance (or, as the artist came to call it, striptease show), quickly became a classic of feminist art, which was partly due to the song Woman is the Nigger of the World, co-written by Ono and John Lennon, a few years later.

At Garage, the famous performance, which can also be interpreted as a distribution of gifts or a kind of “fabric potlatch,” will be performed by the artist Anastasia Potemkina on the last day of the exhibition, January 27, 2019. The artist’s dress will be made of African wax print cotton. Printed batik from Senegal has a complex history: in the nineteenth century, the Dutch colonizers organized the industrial production of cloth imitating traditional Indonesian (mainly Javanese) batik, but the innovation did not take hold. The entrepreneurs were forced to export their invention from Indonesia to West Africa, where the colored fabrics quickly gained popularity and subsequently became a symbol of the national struggle for independence.

Iaroslav Volovod