C-u-t P-i-e-c-e: a duet
A duet by Natalie and Dagmar
In 1964 at the Yamaichi Concert Hall in Japan, performance artist Yoko Ono performed Cut Piece. Dressed in black attire that reflected the sombre and powerfully poignant performance event, Ono kneeled passively on the floor of the performance space and stared mournfully ahead, in silence. Audience members queued up and, one by one, cut off a piece of her clothing until her naked form was exposed. Documentary footage appears to show tears glistening in Ono’s eyes as she suffers the indignity of objectification; her humanity is both literally and metaphorically stripped away.
I felt a real sense of empathetic tension when observing those sharp scissors cutting close to Ono’s skin. I began to imagine a thin trail of blood slowly rising to the surface and faintly trickling out as the blade of the scissor accidentally sliced her flesh. I envisaged her costume completely cut to pieces; clothing to cloth, jumper to rag, and her shy, naked body painfully exposed and objectified. At this moment, the scissors acted as a marker for all sorts of possible outcomes and symbolic associations. They signalled toward cutting, but in doing so also symbolically referred to the potential for danger and harm, blood and abjection
C-u-t P-i-e-c-e is a contemporary adaptation of Yoko Ono’s 1964 original. This work re-visits some of the pertinent issues explored by Ono around female objectification, highlighting its relevance to this day. The artists explore the relationships between women, bodies, clothing and costume, gender roles, ‘femininity’ and ‘women’s work’.
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