Chiharu Shiota

In Silence, 2008
Lana nera, pianoforte bruciato / Black wool, burnt grand piano
Centre PasquArt, Biel
© 2012 Chiharu Shiota. All rights reserved
Photo by Sunhi Mang

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Chiharu Shiota works on the creation of site-specific installations using threads of black wool interwoven to construct a dense and intricate web of strands that often surrounds common objects.

The artist creates three-dimensional images, sceneries in which it appears that something non-human has taken control of an architecture and of objects familiar to us, losing their functionality and instead taking on an emotional, symbolic value. These objects are easily recognizable and can be related to the daily life of each of us, but they are charged with new meanings taking on the connotation of vestiges of places, the memory of something that no longer exists. The public is placed in a role both of contemplation and of interaction, called to an experience of passage through the installation.

For the new installation realised for the CCC Strozzina, Shiota uses some abandoned old doors found inside a storage of Palazzo Strozzi. The door that no longer encloses a space becomes an objects that record life that has taken place but where everything has been covered and immobilized in a dimension now unreachable if not in memory.

The work creates a poetic and existential tension between presence and absence, fullness and void. Time comes to a standstill, creating a state of fixedness, while the vision of the objects is rendered less distinct, because of their position at a distance, obscured and impossible to reach. The stretched threads become visible signs of the trajectory of the artist’s passage, never linear and almost obsessive, which creates knots and lumps in the prolonging in time of the action itself, almost as if carrying out a performance behind closed doors.

In her work, she synthesizes the two main artistic currents that seem to have influenced her most; on the one hand the Japanese tradition of calligraphy, revolving around the artist’s state of concentration before the unique and unrepeatable act of the brush-stroke, and on the other the lesson imparted to her by Marina Abramovic, according to which the artist should work almost ascetically, in a spirit of meditative concentration culminating in an action that is apparently simple yet charged with meaning.

As the artist herself says: “The creation with threads is a reflection of my own feelings when I was working.” Shiota seems to focus her research on the absence of being, on an entropic idea of energy and on the dimension of individual and collective memory, experimenting with our perception of space and time made permeable to sight.



Chiharu Shiota (1972, Osaka, Japan; lives and works in Berlin), after receiving her early artistic education at the Kyoto Seika University, continued her studies at an international level; initially, between 1993 and 1994, at the Canberra School of Art of the Australian National University, and subsequently attending courses at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste and at the Universität der Künste of Berlin, both in Germany. Confirmation of the artist’s cosmopolitan character is her work as guest professor sooner at the Kyoto Seika University (in 2010) and later (in 2011) at the California College of the Arts. Noteworthy among her personal shows are the monographic exhibitions which marked the debut of her career in the early 1990s in Kyoto, Native–600 Masks and My Existence as a Physical. Her first European monographic exhibitions are Direction of Consciousness and Return to Consciousness, both staged in Hamburg. Since the year 2000 the number of the artist’s monographic exhibitions has considerably increased, with exhibits such as Breathing from Earth (2000) at Kunstraum Maximilianstrasse, Stadtforum München, Munich, The Way into Silence (2003) at the Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart or, in the same year, allAlone, realized at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw. In 2004 the show In Silence was held at the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, while in 2005 Raum/Room was shown at the Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin, and in 2008 Breath of Spirit, a solo exhibition, was held at the National Museum of Art in Osaka. Chiharu Shiota, in 2009, was staged at the Kenji Taki Gallery in Nagoya, and in 2010 were held shows such as One Place at the Haunch of Venison in London and the solo exhibition at the Galería Nieves Fernández, Madrid. Dating from 2011 are Home of Memory staged at La Maison Rouge in Paris, Memory of Books, an installation realized at the Fondazione Gervasuti during the Venice Biennale, and Presence of the Past, a solo show that was presented at the Alexander Ochs Galleries of Beijing. In 2012 relevant monographic exhibitions have been organized: Labyrinth of Memory at La Sucrière in Lyon and at the Galerie Daniel Templon in Paris, at the Kunsthalle of Kiel and at the Haunch of Venison in New York. She has taken part to many collective exhibitions, among which some of the most recent are: (2000) Dorothea von Stetten Kunstpreis, Kunstmuseum Bonn; (2006) Imbenge Dreamhouse, In Transit 06, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Berlin–Tokyo / Tokyo–Berlin: The Art of Two Cities, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Bathroom, Performance Intermedia Festival, Sczecin; (2007) Fiction for the Real, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; (2008) Eurasia, Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (MART); Drawn in the Clouds, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki; (2009) The Third Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, curated by Jean-Hubert Martin; (2010) HomeLessHome, Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem; (2011) Inner Voices, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa; Making the Territory, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.


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Con la grande mostra dedicata ad Ai Weiwei (23 settembre 2016-22 gennaio 2017) per la prima volta Palazzo Strozzi diventa uno spazio espositivo unitario che comprende facciata, Cortile, Piano Nobile e Strozzina.

L’arte contemporanea esce dalla Strozzina e si espande sia a livello espositivo che di comunicazione, in uno scenario in cui Palazzo Strozzi partecipa attivamente all’avanguardia artistica del nostro tempo.

Per questo motivo le informazioni relative alla mostra Ai Weiwei. Libero e il programma di mostre e attività future dedicato all'arte contemporanea saranno consultabili direttamente al sito e sui canali social di Palazzo Strozzi.