Yoko Ono: Mend Piece

Friday, Sep 24 – Dec 4, 2021

Eastern Illinois University
2010 9th St.
Charleston, IL 61920

In this iteration of the iconic installation Mend Piece (Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York City version)(1966/2015), Ono proposes communal mending as an act of healing. In a seemingly simple white room, shattered cups and saucers are placed on a table. Participants are asked to bind the fragments together using common household items: twine, glue, scissors, and tape. The resulting creations are displayed on nearby shelves, evidence of the power of collective action. Secluded from the bustling world, Ono’s meditative environment inspires reflections on the tumultuous concerns of society, as well as personal struggles. 

Conceived in the 1960s at a moment of rapid cultural transformation, this early example of participatory artwork still resonates strongly today. Mend Piece calls to mind the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. For Ono, a visitors’ small act of mending holds the potential to resonate at a universal scale. With straightforward directions, the artist asks participants to let go of pretension and consider larger ideas: “Mend with wisdom/mend with love./It will mend the earth/at the same time.”  

Yoko Ono’s work radically questions the division between art and the everyday, the artist and the viewer. Participating in Mend Piece (Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York City version), one experiences Ono’s unique practice both intellectually and physically.

This exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts (AFA). The presentation of Yoko Ono’s Mend Piece (Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York City version) is part of ArtRoom, an ongoing series of contemporary art installations organised by the AFA.


Yoko Ono, Mend Piece (Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York City version), 1966/2015, Ceramic, nontoxic glue, cello tape, scissors, and twine, Dimensions variable, Rennie Collection, Vancouver. Installation view, rennie museum, Vancouver, 2018, photographed by Blaine Campbell; courtesy Rennie Collection, Vancouver | © 2015 Yoko Ono