Yoko Ono- Cut Piece Research

As one of the main influences in video art during the Fluxus period, it probably comes to no shock that Yoko Ono has helped me with developing my idea for ‘Androcentrism’. She doesn’t focus on one area of art platform in her work, producing pieces in music, film, performance, illustration and sculpture. Working within the Fluxus movement meant that she produces experimental and innovative video art that is deliberately hard to grasp an understanding of.

She has been known as a ‘peaceful protester’, wanting her opinion to be known, but not forcing it upon people. Her work reflects her beliefs in Zen philosophy and the process of self-discovery.

Her piece performance piice ‘Cut Piece’ (1964) is one which is very famous and in my eyes touches upon subjects that concern feminism and the way in which women are portrayed and looked upon. She has done a number of performances of this in different countries such as Kyoto and Tokyo and has been performed by other individuals also. In the performance, she kneels on stage in front of an audience wearing her best suit with a pair of scissors laid in front of her. The audience are invited to cut off pieces of her clothing in order to expose the body that is underneath. She sits emotionless and silent throughout the piece as people begin to get more comfortable with exposing her body.

Referring to the video above, the time that one of the males takes at right at the end of the piece cutting up her t-shirt starting at her right breast and moving his way round her torso in the hope to display her chest is something which I find quite disturbing and a reiterating part to the piece where we see evidence of people just wanting to see her whole body and have no qualms with themselves doing this- if anything, the gentlemen that goes through with this act seems quite content with himself.

She’s showcasing herself as a sexual object and this seems to be lapped up by the audience. Why should people be interested in seeing what Yoko Ono looked like beneath her clothing? In my mind, it all mounts back to society having an obsession with sexual thoughts and the interest in seeing others exposed which they evidently had in the 1960’s, and is still in very strongly in motion today. 


Digital Art Resource for Education (2005) Yoko Ono [online] available from <http://www.iniva.org/dare/themes/play/ono.html&gt; [18 March 2014]

Concannon, K (2010) Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece [online] available from <http://imaginepeace.com/archives/2680&gt; [18 March 2014]

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