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Yoko Ono in Berlin

September 11, 2010

Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon, has a new, interactive exhibition in Berlin focusing on overcoming violence. She says the world can be healed of violence if we confront it.

Ono poses behind her piece "A Hole" at her exhibition in Berlin
"A Hole" lets the viewer imagine being both shooter and victimImage: AP

Yoko Ono's new installation in Berlin is called "Das Gift," a play on words, contrasting the English meaning of "present" with the German word for "poison."

"It's about the poison of the world, which may be a gift to us as well," the 77-year-old widow of ex-Beatle John Lennon.

The centerpiece of the exhibition, which can be seen at the Haunch of Venison gallery through November 13, is called "A Hole." It's a piece of plate glass with a bullet hole in it. A caption tells visitors to, "go to the other side of the glass and see through the hole," encouraging them to take the perspective of both the shooter and the victim.

In another piece old German helmets appear to float in the air. Each one contains puzzle pieces of images of the sky. All of it is accompanied by the sound of shrieking birds.

Sharing experiences of violence

Ono slices into canvas before asking visitors to mend the cuts
Ono's exhibition is distinctly interactiveImage: AP

"Das Gift" is an interactive installation, incorporating visitors' letters and photos from their own experiences with violence as well as images of their smiling faces. Those faces are projected onto a wall in what the Japanese-American artist describes as "a petition for peace."

"I want people to bring a testimony of their own experience of violence," Ono said. "If we share these experiences and don't suppress them, we can create a peaceful world."

She opened the exhibition by cutting into a large canvas with a knife. She then asked visitors to mend the slashes.

Ono said the installation could only be done in Berlin, "one of the most peaceful and creative cities in the world."

The bullet hole sculpture was not originally made with her murdered husband in mind, she said. "Then when I made it, I thought, ah, I remember," she told the Associated Press news agency.

Lennon was shot to death as he and Ono returned to their home in New York City 30 years ago this December.

Author: Holly Fox (AP/dpa/Reuters)

Editor: Sean Sinico