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All you need is love

» July 16, 2013

Galleria civica di Modena, Palazzo Santa Margherita, corso Canalgrande 103
13th September-20th October 2013

On Friday 13th September at 6pm in the Main Hall of Palazzo Santa Margherita, the exhibition entitled  “All you need is Love. John Lennon: artist, actor, performer” will be inaugurated. Curated by Enzo Gentile, Marco Pierini and Antonio Taormina, the event is promoted/organised by the Galleria civica di Modena and the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena with the support of the Hera Group.

For the first time in Italy, “All you need is Love” sets out to depict the multi-faceted talent of John Lennon, considered only secondarily here in his well-known role as a musician, being examined here instead as a visual artist and actor.

With a natural gift for drawing, Lennon studied (with mixed results) at the prestigious Liverpool College of Art, and never lost the habit of capturing ideas, thoughts and fantasies with the use of quick sketches. However, we may speak of any real artistic activity only following his first meeting with Yoko Ono, with whom he produced a number of videos between the end of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s – “Smile”, “Rape”, “Fly”, “Up Your Legs” – all of which are featured in the modenese show.

Of extraordinary interest, and very much bound up with “Love” (the theme of this year’s festivalfilosofia) is the folder of 14 lithographs entitled “Bag One”, created by John as a wedding present for Yoko for their marriage in 1969. The exchanging of the rings, the well-known bed-in for peace in Amsterdam, the honeymoon, intimate moments of theirs are the subjects chosen by Lennon for this series of images characterised by a fresh, fleeting and ironic touch. ‘Bag One’ was displayed for the first time on 15th January 1970 at the London Arts Gallery and was immediately seized by Scotland Yard by virtue of the strongly erotic contents to be found throughout the prints.

If we exclude “A Hard Day’s Night”, ‘Help!” and the “Magical Mystery Tour”, filmed together with the other three Beatles, the satirical and anti-military comedy “How I won the war” (1967) by Richard Lester remains the only feature film interpreted by Lennon, here in the role of the foot soldier Gripweed. It was here that John appears for the first time with his little round glasses: a look which was to become iconic over the years to come. All of the advertising posters for the film are on show here – produced with a sharp graphical imagination – that were used for its release in Italy, as well as other iconographic and publishing materials dedicated to it.

John Lennon, the brilliant coiner of puns, teller of surreal stories and recounter of nonsense poetry, will also be featured in the space given over to literature in the house organ of the Galleria, civico 103 (a special issue of which is dedicated to the exhibition) with a story in rhyme titled ‘Toy Boy’, not included in the three official books written by Lennon, and never before translated into Italian. Lastly, there will also be the famous portrait of Yoko Ono and John Lennon taken by Annie Leibovitz in 1980, only a few hours before the ex-Beatle was killed, now part of the Gallery’s Photography Collection.

The exhibition will be open to the public until Sunday 20th October, from Wednesday to Friday, 10am to 1pm and from 3pm to 6pm; Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 10.30am to 7pm. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. On the occasion of the festivalfilosofia, Friday 13th September 9am – 11pm; Saturday 14th September 9am – 1am; Sunday 15th September 9am – 9pm. Entrance is free.

Exhibition: All you need is Love. John Lennon artist, actor, performer
Curated by: Enzo Gentile, Marco Pierini and Antonio Taormina
Venue: Palazzo Santa Margherita, Main Hall, corso Canalgrande 103, Modena
Period: 13th September-20th October 2013
Organisation and Production
Galleria civica di Modena, Fondazione Cassa di Rispamio di Modena
With support from Hera Group
Opening Friday 13th September, 6pm
Opening Times Wednesday-Friday 10am-1 pm and 3pm-6pm; Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays 10.30am-7pm. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Special opening times on the occasion of the festivalfilosofia
Friday 13th September 9am-1am, Saturday 14th September 9am-1am; Sunday 15th September,  9am-9pm
Entrance Free
Press Office: Clp Relazioni Pubbliche, Milan, Anna Defrancesco, tel. + 39 02 36755700,
Images and press releases may be downloaded from
Galleria civica di Modena Press Office, Cristiana Minelli
tel. +39 059 2032883,
Images and press releases may be downloaded from the Press Room on the gallery website
Galleria civica di Modena Contact Info
corso Canalgrande 103, 41121 Modena
tel. +39 059 2032911/40 – fax +39 059 2032932

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