As a pioneer of conceptual art, Yoko Ono has been creating unique and progressive works since the 1960s, which challenge how we think about art and the world. Her practice explores the mediums of performance, film, music and writing, making her simultaneously an artist, poet, musician and peace activist.
PAINTING TO SHAKE HANDS, has been created exclusively for s[edition], and filmed for the first time for the 2012 exhibition TO THE LIGHT at the Serpentine Gallery in London.
The work references a specific instruction from her book Grapefruit, published in 1964, where the artist produced a series of ‘event scores’, which an individual might or might not enact.
The instruction is as follows:
'PAINTING TO SHAKE HANDS
(painting for cowards)
Drill a hole in a canvas and put your
hand out from behind.
Receive your guests in that position.
Shake hands and converse with hands.'
Here, the artist’s own lace-covered hand appears through the bare and pierced canvas, in effect ‘painting’ an image that appeals to the viewer, who perhaps ultimately joins their hand with hers.