chiharu shiota was born in osaka, japan in 1972 and belongs to a generation of young
artists who have gained international attention in recent years for body-related art.
her education at german art schools with marina abramovic from 1996 provides a key
to her pictorial language that is unmistakably oriented around the artistic solutions of
the performance and installation art of the 1970s.
marina abramovic along with ana mendieta, janine antoni, louise bourgeois, carolee
schneemann, and rebecca horn, are the forerunners of the performative installation art
on which shiota’s pictorial language builds.
‘flowing water’ at nizayama forest art museum, toyama, japan, 2009
are the beds ascending into the air, or descending to earth? combined with the sound
of water cascading onto them, they make for a striking sensory experience. the water
falls on the beds suspended in midair, flowing toward the bottom and onto the floor.
we find ourselves in a psychic space, confronted by our own unconscious, which
takes form in this installation as if in a dream become real.
shiota chiharu has incorporated beds in many of her works, placing them on the
other side of thick webs of black wool, embraced in black cocoons; realms of
memory visible yet unattainable. but in the installation ‘flowing water’, these beds
appear before our eyes, liberated.
‘room of memory’ at 21st century museum of contemporary art, kanazawa, japan, 2009
ca. 600 old wooden windows collected
‘in silence’ at the ‘state of being’ show at the centrepasquart, biel bienne, switzerland, 2009
a piano and chairs, defined by a network made of black wool threads. the object, the piano
as once defined loses its meaning in order to represent something that cannot really be
represented: the memory of the sound in a silent room.
‘breath of the spirit’ at the national museum of art / osaka, japan, 2008
these shoes were collected from people who didn’t want to use them anymore
‘lebensspuren (traces of life)’ at torstrasse 166, berlin, germany, 2008
installation with 600 shoes and ca. 13.000 m thread
installation in an abandoned apartment, formerly inhabited by an old lady, berlin, 2008
the series began in 1996 in japan with the work return to consciousness in which shiota
first created one of her webs of black wool thread that dominate the entire exhibition space
and that give viewers visual but not physical access to the space. as if they were spider webs
that have spread unchecked, the artist has carefully crossed and knotted her threads from floor
to ceiling and wall to wall by untiring manual labor. since then, the idea of the web of strands
is often present in her installations. the unusual feature here is that shiota uses her own umbilical
cord to connect it by yarn to an installation of knots.
her own body is thus reduced to the point where, like a cord, it integrated into the installation
and thus inextricably intertwined with it. the umbilical cord stands not only for the body of the
artist, who thus consciously dispenses with the creation of a concrete body image, but also for
the interconnectedness of bodies. shiota takes as her theme not the division of identity but rather
the dependence of the subject on its roots, which questions the western conception of
individuality to the absurd. this point of view finds its artistic transformation in her spatial
installations with thread that takes all of the surrounding objects and bodies and combines
them into a single context and relates them to one another.