John Lennon auf einer Mauer sitzend
Bob-Gruen-John-Lennon-on-the-roof-of-his-East-52nd-Street-penthouse-New-York-1974 © Estate of John Lennon and Yoko Ono

15.03 - 24.06.2017

John Lennon Imagine

The exhibition, "John Lennon - Imagine" follows traces of one of the most important and enigmatic personalities in pop history.

Kurpfälzisches Museum of the City of Heidelberg

The exhibition sets out to trace one of the most important and most enigmatic personalities in pop history - John Lennon. The stations of his biography offer deeply impressive testimonies to a constant musical and personal balancing act. Tragically coming to an end just as he began to settle into something extraordinary: normality.

On display are drawings that Lennon made at the time on the stationery of the Beatles record company "Apple". They come from the possession of his first wife, Cynthia Lennon. Room settings, quotations, photos, song lyrics, videos and drawings show precisely the shadows of a life that took place predominantly in the limelight of world publicity.

These first-hand documents create an extraordinary closeness to one of the greatest idols of his time, who for almost two decades moved millions of people with his music and politically inspired an entire generation. John Lennon had been writing poems and short stories since childhood. In the 1960ies, two collections of whimsical short stories by Lennon were published, which he illustrated himself: "In His Own Write" was published in 1964 and "A Spaniard in the Works" followed in 1965.

The exhibition does not look only at the musician John Lennon, rather original cartoons, drawings and lithographs provide an intimate approach to the artist Lennon. Lennon's passion for illustration earned him a reputation among his classmates long before his musical successes, and eventually took him to the College of Art in Liverpool at the age of just 17, where he studied art from 1957 to 1960. This passion did not subside until his death.

In 1966, Lennon met Japanese performance artist Yoko Ono, whom he married in Gibraltar on March 20, 1969. On March 31, of the same year, the couple ended their week-long "bed-in" at the Apollobuurt in Amsterdam. Lennon and Ono had given daily interviews from bed at the Hilton Hotel starting March 26 to make a visible statement for peace. "When we got married, we knew our honeymoon was going to be public, anyway, so we decided to use it to make a statement. We sat in bed and talked to reporters for seven days. It was hilarious. In effect, we were doing a commercial for peace on the front page of the papers instead of a commercial for war".

On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was shot dead late at night in front of the Dakota Building in New York City. A few hours earlier, the assassin Mark David Chapman had had a record signed by him. This moment was photographed by a fan. Thus, in the last photo showing the artist alive, his killer is also depicted.