Yoko Ono, A New illy Art Collection And Metaphor For Life

The seventh cup in the collection, UNBROKEN CUP, is untouched with no cracked or mended lines, reflecting peace and hope with Ono's handwritten words on the saucer.

The Luxonomist. 11/05/2015
Yoko Ono Illy Cup
Yoko Ono: Mended Cups – illy Art Collection will be live on http://www.moma.org on 5/8. *Image provided by illy North America showing the newest collaboration for the illy Art Collection of espresso cups and saucers (PRNewsFoto/illy)

Healing the broken and preserving the unbroken are the basic concepts of Yoko Ono’s new artworks for illy Art Collection, exclusively released today on the occasion of the artist’s upcoming exhibition Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971May 17-September 7, 2015 at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.

Yoko Ono: MENDED CUPS, an illy Art Collection, consists of six cups that bear gold, ‘shattered’ and ‘mended’ crack lines – accompanied by six individual saucers that state, in Yoko Ono’s handwriting, six catastrophic events that have affected the world; some have directly affected her life, and others only indirectly, yet bringing death to millions of people.  Each saucer states the date and place of the tragic event and concludes with the words «… mended in 2015.»

Yoko Ono Illy Cup 2
Yoko Ono: Mended Cups – illy Art Collection. *Image provided by illy North America showing the newest collaboration for the illy Art Collection of espresso cups and saucers (PRNewsFoto/illy)

The seventh cup in the collection, UNBROKEN CUP, is untouched with no cracked or mended lines, reflecting peace and hope with Ono’s handwritten words on the saucer, «This cup will never be broken as it will be under your protection.»

Since the early 1960s, Yoko Ono has had an impact on the international art scene, helping to redefine the relationship between the artist and society through her contributions to art, performance, music, feminism, and anti-war activism.  It was this decade that fueled her 1966 work Mend Piece for her first solo show in London at the Indica Gallery, and an earlier work, Promise Piece (1961); in 1997, Ono created Crickets, a work of silence and void left by human destruction.  For MENDED CUPS, Ono used the metaphor of the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi, a technique of repairing broken or cracked pottery using brushstrokes of gold and silver, a philosophy that treats the breakage and repair as part of the object’s history–an important and precious detail, rather than something to disguise.

Yoko Ono Illy Cup 3

The set comprises of seven espresso cups including saucers that are signed by the artist and numbered.   A booklet about the collection is included with the set at a cost of $250.00The single cup, UNBROKEN CUP, will also be available at a cost of $40.00.  The illy Art Collection, a series of espresso and cappuccino cups by artists that the Trieste-based company has produced since 1992, is the clearest expression of the illycaffe connection to contemporary art.

Many prominent contemporary masters on the international art scene, along with emerging young artists, have transformed the everyday coffee cup – in this case the white porcelain illy cup introduced by the architect and designer Matteo Thun – into a cult object. From Robert Wilson and Michelangelo Pistoletto to Marina AbramovicAnish KapoorDaniel BurenRobert Rauschenberg and Jeff Koons to Jan FabreJames Rosenquist, Jannis Kounellis and Julian Schnabel to Louise Bourgeois and William Kentridge, more than 70 contemporary artists so far have contributed designs for the collection. The illy Art Collection, signed, limited and numbered, is on sale all over the world.

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