January 2, 2012

OUT OF THE BOX Profile: Yoko Ono, Play it by Trust

Posted in Exhibitions

Yoko Ono, Play it by Trust (Roskilde Version), 2002



Play it for as long as you can remember
who is your opponent and
who is your own self.

Yoko Ono 


ulmer1024117011250px72dpiYoko Ono, Play it by Trust (Roskilde Version), 2002. Collection Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield.

Yoko Ono, a prolific writer, musician, and artist created her first version of Play it by Trust then known as the White Chess Set in 1966. Meant to be a peace statement during the Cold War and Vietnam conflicts, Ono reanalyzes the game of chess—known to be an allegory of war and conflict—into a more peaceful pastime, emphasizing collaboration over competition. With the familiar white vs. black aspect of chess, Ono eliminates black (a color often associated with death, power, and/or war) and substitutes it for another grouping of 16 white pieces (a color often associated with peace, purity, and/or surrendering) all arranged on an all-white board, white table with white chairs. The rules of the traditional game of chess dictates that white “moves first” therefore, a dialogue must take place immediately between the two “opponents” regarding who in fact is to move a piece first. Players must continue throughout the entire process of the game remembering what piece is theirs and essentially trusting the other player to do so as well.

Ono has created several versions of Play it by Trust since 1966 including fantastic large-scale versions.

For more information about this work and other works seen in the exhibition, click here

OUT OF THE BOX: Artists Play Chess is curated by Bradley Bailey and is on view until February 12, 2012.