Yoko Ono’s “Cut Piece” as a Participation Work

By Youjin Chung.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Since the 1960s, Fluxus has often been concerned with art as an experience. An experience is the basic source for Fluxus, and also the basic principle for Zen Buddhism’s enlightenment. In ‘Experience’ there is the nature of art and life. This is evidenced by Fluxus artist such as Yoko Ono. Cut Piece is not a painting or sculpture; it is performance and an event on the stage. In this Fluxus event or performance, there is the interaction between the performer and the object or the performer and the audience. This represents the changing roles of both artist and recipient. Like Zen, Fluxus presents the subject with a sense of reciprocal determination, an interaction instead of acting upon the world. There can be no subject and no object, but rather a relationship between the two. Generally, we think the performer, Ono, is subject and the audience is object, however, the audience’s action – cutting clothes - could be the subject. This paper explores the presentation of Cut Piece which includes the Zen method. This blurs the relationship between the self and the other. It is a practical way beyond the boundary between creator and audience.

Keywords: Yoko Ono, Fluxus, Participatory Arts, Performance, Audiences

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.303-314. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 721.632KB).

Youjin Chung

Ph.D Student, History of Art and Architecture, The University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire, UK

Youjin Chung is currently a PhD candidate in History of Art at the University of Reading, UK. Her thesis title is Fluxus and the Zen Buddhist’s concept of Emptiness. She received her B.A. and M.A. in the History of Art from the University of Reading. She is interested in interdisciplinary studies of art, and philosophy. Her research interests include Fluxus, video art, participating art, performance and the influence of Eastern philosophy on contemporary art.


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