chiharu shiota weaves an immersive labyrinth of keys and yarn
all photography by sunhi mang / courtesy of chiharu shiota
as visitors to the 2015 venice art biennale enter the japan pavilion, a red immersive expanse infills the building’s ceiling and walls, intertwining entrants within a maze of vibrantly colored yarn. ‘the key in hand’ by japanese artist chiharu shiota comprises more than 50,000 keys hanging from a cloud of tightly interwoven string.
the web of threads turns the roof into a complex and elaborate labyrinth of materials, forming an undulating path for which viewers to traverse beneath. two rustic boats at the center of the space part the veil of keys, catching the net of interlaced metal and material as it passes over and permeates the entirety of the site.
installation view of ‘the key in the hand’, 2015 presented during the venice art biennale
the installation seeks to explore the notion of memory, using tens of thousands of keys collected from people across the globe in its realization. ‘keys are familiar and very valuable things that protect important people and spaces in our lives. they also inspire us to open the door to unknown worlds’ shiota explains.
‘with these thoughts in mind, in this new installation I would like to use keys provided by the general public that are imbued with various recollections and memories that have accumulated over a long period of daily use. as I create the work in the space, the memories of everyone who provides me with their keys will overlap with my own memories for the first time. these overlapping memories will in turn combine with those of the people from all over the world who come to see the biennale, giving them a chance to communicate in a new way and better understand each other’s feelings.’
the web of threads turns the roof into a complex and elaborate labyrinth of materials
two rustic boats at the center of the space part the veil of keys that hovers above
the installation seeks to explore the notion of memory through the use of keys collected from the public
a red immersive expanse infills the building’s ceiling and walls
the boats catch the net of interlaced metal and material as it passes over the site
the net intertwines entrants within a maze of vibrantly colored yarn
key and string meets the materiality of the wooden boat
keys collected from across the world have been strung onto red yarn
tens of thousands of keys collected from people across the globe have been used in its realization