We recently stumbled on this image of Yoko Ono’s 1966 lovely “Mend Piece” as it has been exhibited at Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig: a white room with a white table with fragments of broken cups for visitors to mend with tape, string, glue and other materials. The mended pieces are displayed on white shelves. The wall text states:
Mend with wisdom
mend with love
mend your heart.
It will mend the earth
at the same time
Each version of the installation, which has been shown in many Ono retrospectives, is slightly different. At Galerie Lelong and Andrea Rosen Gallery in Chelsea in 2015, “Mend Piece” was restaged with long tables cluttered with broken cups and plates, and scissors, tape, rubber cement, and string all available to assemble the fragments into a new whole. Writing for Hyperallergic, reported that “Mend Piece” provoked genuine joy from visitors.
On her Facebook, Ono writes:
MEND PIECE is a wish piece. It’s a broken cup that sits on a stand with glue, thread and thimble. You are supposed to mend the cup.
I once did this piece on a TV show. Soon after that John and I were traveling cross-country. A boy came up to us and thanked me for Mend Piece. He said his family had been on the verge of splitting up. But for some reason they happened to watch the TV show together – the one on which I showed Mend Piece – and they decided to mend their relationship and stay together. They then broke a cup and mended it together as a symbol of their mended relationship.
You might think you’re just mending a cup, but you’re actually mending something within you. The process of mending is the experience.
Of course, you don’t need to visit Ono’s installation to experience your own mend piece. You have only to mend and reflect on Ono’s idea…
As you mend the cup, mending that is needed elsewhere in the Universe gets done as well. Be aware of it as you mend.