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, 1960–1971; May 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.”
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.
“When I learned about the project that Yoko Ono had conceived for illy, a shiver ran down my spine,” said Carlo Bach, creative director for illycaffe. “When I view this illy Art Collection at once, I think about the fragility of our world, the possibility of forgiveness and the hope for a better future, which largely depends on our actions.”
The Yoko Ono: Mended Cups-illy Art Collection will be available internationally at illycaffe stores and online via www.illy.com. During the early summer months of the exhibition, availability in the U.S. will be exclusively through The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Design Stores located at 11 and 44 West 53rd Street, and 81 Spring Street, as well as MoMAStore.org. The cup sets will have wider availability in the U.S. and Canada in September via www.illyusa.com, illycaffe shops, and the MoMA Design Store catalog.
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 $250.00. The 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 Abramovic, Anish Kapoor, Daniel Buren, Robert Rauschenberg and Jeff Koons to Jan Fabre, James 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, in cafes, stores that distribute illy products and at www.illy.com. Once they sell out, the items are not reproduced.