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tour chiharu shiota's immersive thread installation, set within a former church in berlin

‘I hope…’ by chiharu shiota is an immersive thread installation currently on display in the nave of st. agnes – a monumental former church that now serves as könig galerie’s exhibition space in berlin. the large-scale piece gathers 10.000 letters sent to the artist from across the globe, which came in response to her invitation to people to write down their hopes. printed on red paper, the letters are attached to millions of lines of red thread that interconnect them, while metal boat frames are suspended in between. ‘I hope…’ links back to shiota’s ‘the key in hand’ installation, an immersive labyrinth of keys and yarn set inside the japan pavilion during the 56th venice biennale (previous coverage here).


the exhibition was originally scheduled to take place from january 12 to february 28, 2021, but as it could not open to the public due to lockdown regulations, it has been extended until march 21. for those that cannot make it to ‘I hope..’ in person, designboom presents a sneak peak of the exhibition, courtesy of art membership platform guest club. anaïs lellouche, international curatorial associate of the platform, takes us on a virtual tour of chiharu shiota’s work on the video above.tour chiharu shiota's immersive thread installation, set within a former church in berlinchiharu shiota ‘I hope…’, 2021. installation: rope, paper, steel. könig galerie, berlin, germany

all images by sunhi mang © VG bild-kunst, bonn, 2021 and the artist

video courtesy of guest club / anaïs lellouche



‘I hope…’ marks chiharu shiota’s first solo exhibition at könig gallery, held in the monumental nave of st. agnes at the heart of berlin. the large-scale installation immerses viewers in a mesmerising environment, composed of millions of red threads that hang straight down like cords. between them, a series of metal boat skeletons set off on a journey into the unknown, gradually suspended higher above the ground. 10.000 letters printed on red paper complete the installation, sent to the artist from people across the globe who responded to her invitation to write down their hopes.tour chiharu shiota immersive thread installation, set within a former church in berlin



chiharu shiota was born in osaka, japan, and lives and works in berlin. her mesmerising installations and sculptures confront fundamental human concerns such as life, death and relationships. the large-scale pieces immerse visitors in a new environment, composed of millions of lines of thread woven around personal objects. 



‘she weaves in narratives of people through the objects that we carry with us,’ says anaïs lellouche, international curatorial associate of melbourne-born art membership platform guest club, during the virtual tour. ‘very personal objects, such as shoes. what is more personal than shoes to take you on your journey through life, and through continents. she always has a very poetic title. and then she uses thread as a connector between the objects and between each other. so it is about accumulation, it is about the multitude. and I think it’s this dichotomy between our individual lives, our individual unique experiences and how they play within a kind of global mindset. that idea of accumulation is present, together with the personal narratives of each and every one of us.’tour chiharu shiota immersive thread installation, set within a former church in berlin



‘like a composer, chiharu plays you symphonies with the different elements across different templates. the fronts of buildings, the insides of museums, large spaces, very intimate ones,’ lellouche continues. ‘and they’re always unique. she says that she chooses the color of the thread and the composition in relationship to the space. so she is really a master at sculpting with her medium of choice, which is, imagine, just a little string. and she creates this through these incredible techniques that they’ve developed over decades. there is an ability to create light and shadow, to create form, and to sculpt the air with this mass of thread.’tour chiharu shiota immersive thread installation, set within a former church in berlin



in 2008, chiharu shiota received the art encouragement prize from the japanese minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology. her solo exhibitions across the world include mori art museum, tokyo (2019); gropius bau, berlin (2019); art gallery of south australia (2018); yorkshire sculpture park, uk (2018); power station of art, shanghai (2017); K21 kunstsammlung nordrhein-westfalen, düsseldorf (2015); smithsonian institution arthur m. sackler gallery, washington DC (2014); the museum of art, kochi (2013); and the national museum of art, osaka (2008) among others. she has also participated in numerous international exhibitions such as oku-noto international art festival (2017), sydney biennale (2016), echigo-tsumari art triennale (2009) and yokohama triennale (2001). in 2015, shiota was selected to represent japan at the 56th venice biennale.tour chiharu shiota's immersive thread installation, set within a former church in berlin

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