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Cover of Grapefruit book

Grapefruit, a Collection of “Paintings” by Yoko Ono


Yoko’s poetry book promotes the life of art and as tiny, quotidian exercises.

Everything that Yoko Ono does is a characteristic melange of haikus, paintings, instructions and little enigmas. Her latest book is no exception. Grapefruit gathers all of the above, while it also represents a perfect manual of sorts for anybody who wishes to fill their daily lives with something significant and at the same time sprightly. The book is full of surrealist exercises that invite us to unveil deep truths in a ludic and stealthy manner. But, perhaps it is better if she defines the elusive nature of her pieces:

My painting, which is all made up of instructions, came after they entered the world of collage and assembly and happening. If we take into account the nature of my painting, we can use any of the three mentioned words or a new one instead of the word painting.

Grapefruit was originally published in a limited edition of only 500 pieces in Munternaum Press, Tokyo, in 1964. 30 years later it was re-edited with a new prologue she wrote herself. The book is made up of small drawings and texts, but above all it deals with the tiniest (and at the same time far reaching) projects, which can be practiced when conversing with someone:

Wish Piece III

Water Piece

Listen to sound of underground water.

While you walk behind someone as if you were a ghost:


Walking Piece

Walk in the footsteps of the person in front.

  1. On ground
  2. In mud
  3. In snow
  4. On ice
  5. In water

Try not to make sounds.

As every piece becomes something that belongs to one, in some intimacy that by taking shape completes its cycle, these pieces disappear after having been made. Like mandalas:

Please burn this book

after reading it.


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