Yoko Ono will feature at the London 2012 Festival when she exhibits new and rarely seen works at the Serpentine Gallery in what will be her first show in a UK public institution for three years.
The widow of John Lennon plans to feature her SMILE project in which people are invited to upload an image of themselves smiling to form a ‘global anthology of positive portraits’ – a very modern take on her lifelong mission to ‘spread the love’.
As well as featuring SMILE the exhibition will partly be a retrospective of Ono’s influence in contemporary art, music, film and performance since the early 60s when she flirted with Dadaism and the avant-garde collective Fluxus. Fans can expect to see pieces that have never or rarely been shown before in the UK.
Ono previously exhibited at the Gateshead Baltic in 2009 but the last time she lent her artistic vision to a UK celebration was at the Liverpool Biennial in 2004 when she flooded the city with banners and merchandise bearing two images, one of a woman’s naked breast and the other of the same woman’s vulva in a piece titled My Mummy Was Beautiful - a dedication to her Lennon’s Mother.
Nor will this be the first association Ono has had with the Olympics. She performed at the opening ceremony for the 2006 Winter Games in Turin by reading a free verse poem calling for world peace, before introducing a performance of Lennon’s 1971 anthem Imagine.
The London 2012 Festival, which runs for 12 weeks between 21st June and 9th September, promises to be ‘the biggest festival the UK has ever seen’ and will feature art installations, music, theatre and food events in an effort to gear the country up for the Olympic Games.