portraits by TERRY RICHARDSON
interview by OLIVIER ZAHM
Leslie Lessin, style — Seth Goldfarb and David Swanson, photographer’s assistants — Jim Crawford, make-up
YOKO ONO is one of the most important performance and conceptual artists of the past 50 years. But lest we forget, she’s also been an influential force in the music world, both before and after her life with John Lennon. Her new album, Don’t Stop Me! invokes the best of Plastic Ono Band’s controlled noise and brillant improvisations, as it channels the coolest of “art-core” Japanese rock sensibilities. Her son, Sean Lennon, produced the sessions for what he described as “a deluge of new songs … 16 songs recorded in six days.” He also played on the album, as did the Japanese musicians, Yuka Honda from Cibo Matto and Keigo “Cornelius” Oyamada, and a group of Manhattan musicians. In this exclusive interview Yoko explains how the deluge played out.
OLIVIER ZAHM — Since the ’60s you’ve been one of the artists to fight hardest for peace in the world. How do you find the energy to continue this fight?
YOKO ONO — Well, it’s just logical to do it. It has to be done. So the energy comes to you.
OLIVIER ZAHM — Even as the world becomes more insane?
YOKO ONO — I don’t think the world is more insane. It was just as insane in the 16th century, to name just one period. Every century is crazy, but we’ve survived, and we are going to survive. I think that, step by step, we’re becoming wiser — because we have to.
The world is becoming more complex, and to solve this problem of complexity we have to become wiser.
OLIVIER ZAHM — For many people you represent the pure artist. You never give up.
YOKO ONO — Never. Never! But, in fact, it’s not quite exact to say I never give up. I couldn’t ever give up. That’s a very different thing. Ideas come to me, and if I don’t express them, I become sick.
OLIVIER ZAHM — Is art a way to transform pain?
YOKO ONO — Not transform pain — confront pain. People say maybe art is a way to evade the truth. I’d say that art is a way to communicate the truth.
OLIVIER ZAHM — You live in such a beautiful place in Soho. How did you end up there on Broome Street?
YOKO ONO — I’ll tell you how it happened....
[September 1 2015] : News
Alejandro Jodorowsky is currently filming his new film, Poesía Sin Fin (Endless Poetry) in Santiago de Chile with his whole team… In order to finish this extraordinary piece of art, we need your help.
Text Donatien Grau