Yoko Ono: DREAM(ing) Italy

DREAM, Lake Garda 2009

Yoko Ono, well-known widow of John Lennon, has been several times in Italy. In 2009 she received the renown “Leone d’oro” for her career at the 53rd International Art Exhibition in Venice. In the same year her most famous artwork, DREAM, has donated a message of hope to the main italian cities.

A key figure in conceptual performance art in the post war years, she was a member of Fluxus, experimental art movement of the sixties.

Yoko Ono in Marostica

In September 2016 Yoko Ono has paid homage to Marostica, a city in the north of Italy, and its beloved chess. It’s really famous the chessboard with only white chess pieces that she drew as an icon of the ending of conflicts and contrasts in the world.

White chess, Yoko Ono at MOMA.

White chess, Yoko Ono at MOMA. Photo by Victoria Pickering

It is the reason that took her to pay homage to Marostica, well-known for the living chess. Her artwork, a huge white cloth of 530 square meters with the word DREAM impressed on it, covers the chessboard before the performance.

Dream cloth, Yoko Ono in Marostica.

Dream cloth, Yoko Ono in Marostica.

The living chess is the most famous chess in Italy, a performance without a winner.

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The chessboard is located in the main square of Marostica, the living pawns with costumes of the Renaissance remember a legendary chess between two valorous warriors, Rinaldo D’Angarano and Vieri da Vallonara. Both in love with the beautiful Lionora, the castellan’s daughter, they faced in a chess match.

In memory of this event, every second year the living chess match is played in the main square of Marostica.

Living chess, Marostica

Living chess, Marostica

DREAM 2009

DREAM, a performance of advertising art, is not just a word. It became a manifesto that expresses the agonizing present, the undefined future, the crisis and certainly the DREAM of a better world.

This concept led Yoko Ono to her most famous performance, as a new vision of the future.

In the summer of 2009 hundreds of posters with the word DREAM changed the visual perception of palaces in historical centres, bridges and bus stops in the main italian cities like Milano, Roma, Venezia, Bologna and Verona.

DREAM, Yoko Ono 2011.

DREAM, Yoko Ono 2011. Photo by Osamu Iwasaki


Yoko Ono, one of the pioneers of Conceptual Art, is a Japanese multimedia artist known worldwide for her marriage with the Beatles front man, John Lennon.

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Born in 1933 in Tokyo, she is also a peace activist known for her work in performance art. In those years she was among the first women in Japan to study philosophy. In New York she took part in the vibrant artistic scene meeting bohemian artists and poets.

She met John Lennon in 1966, when he visited a preview of her exhibition at Indica Gallery in London. The couple collaborated on art, film and musical projects; we all know their famous performance, Bed-Ins for Peace, staged at the Hilton Amsterdam hotel where Ono and Lennon protested against the Vietnam War.

From the beginning of her career until the present, Yoko Ono’s art has influenced different generations of artists. Her commitment to peace has never stopped, not even after John Lennon’s death.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 1980.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 1980. Photo by NeilFraudstrong

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