AN EXHIBITION IN AN INVISIBLE TOWN
by Yoko Ono, 2008
When the request came to me to do a museum show in a German town
called B, I immediately said no. Why should I shlep myself to a town in
Germany that is not Berlin? I loved Berlin. I loved walking to the
Literaturhaus Café for breakfast, and eat porridge surrounded by trees.
Why did I have to go anywhere else when I could be in a city I loved?
But after a year or so of repeated requests, I finally thought I should
just go and see the town. B turned out to be a nondescript town as I
expected it to be, since it had been heavily bombed out during the war.
But when I saw the museum, I was in shock. It was the most beautiful
museum I have ever seen. It was like meeting a spirit, not a museum.
I said yes. “Yes. I would very much like to exhibit my work here.”
There was a waiting time of a year before it was the opening of my show.
I got on Lufthansa to Munich. The stewardess said “Are you going on to
some city from Munich? “Yes. I’m going to B” I said. “B! Whatever
for?!” The stewardess simply looked aghast. I just laughed.
Now I was in B. The town with a beautiful museum. Every day, I walked
from my hotel to the Museum. The sky was clear blue and the town was
shining. People sat around at the square drinking coffee, chatting away.
Something about the town made me lose my sense of time. I was there for
four days, but it seemed like a year of sweet days.
As I left B after being there for four days, my assistant who went into
the internet to check what they said about the town, said, by the way,
B was actually a big joke in Germany. Some people even thought that
B didn’t exist.
That’s interesting. I thought. I did an exhibition in an invisible town…
The town that did not exist in the German mind. I thought that was so
beautiful. I thought back on the last dinner I had with people of the
town who supported the museum and sponsored the show. Their faces
were all very intellegent. Their eyes clear. They could have been beings
from another planet, I thought.
It turns out that historically, B was a very special town which went
against Hitler in the Nazi Period, and was subjected to his anger.
When his train passed alongside B, Hitler ordered all curtains to be
closed so he didn’t have to see the town. Was that how the town
became invisible in the German mind? The people of new Germany
will be horrified to know that they might still be under the influence of
I must tell you. The town of B definitely did exist. I was there.
Nothing can be nothing.
Vacuum is only a concept.
End of Summer nyc