Renowned Japanese installation artist Chiharu Shiota presents two works in Melbourne for the first time.
Inspired by the body and concepts of home, Chiharu Shiota transforms spaces with her intricate webs.
Throughout October Chiharu Shiota presents two installations in conjunction with the Melbourne Arts Festival, an international festival that presents events in the fields of dance, theatre, music, visual arts and multimedia over 17 days from 6 to 23 October 2016.
The exhibition “Absent Bodies” is on show from 7 October until 5 November 2016 at Anna Schwartz Gallery. In addition, Shiota has also created a specific installation from hundreds of metres of bright red thread entitled “The Home Within”, which started at Federation Square on 6 October and then travelling to a number of locations around the city before finishing at the Melbourne Town Hall on 23 October.
Shiota is well known for her large installations and sculptures, where she often uses thread to create a network of interconnections. She creates spaces where visitors are invited to enter and interact with the surroundings. She incorporates objects suspended in the web of threads, such as a house, a piano, suitcases or keys, as in her installation for the Japan Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale.
Shiota was born in 1972 in Osaka, Japan, and now lives and works in Berlin, Germany. She has studied under Marina Abramović and has been influenced by the Cuban American performance artist Ana Mendieta. Shiota has exhibited widely and her seminal installation “The Key in the Hand” was presented in 2015 at the 56th Venice Biennale. Other exhibitions of note include those at the Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris (2015), the Busan Biennale (2014), the Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw (2014), the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. (2014) and The National Museum of Art, Osaka (2008), among many others.
Although this is the first time Shiota has exhibited in Melbourne, she has had various links with Australia. In 1994 she studied at the Australia National University of Canberra School of Art and she has also created installations in Hobart (2011) and for the 20th Biennale of Sydney in 2016.
The process of weaving together these spaces is very personal and intuitive. In the press release, Shiota explains her use of thread:
My creations with thread are reflections of my own feelings. A thread can be a cut, a knot or a loop, or can be loose or sometimes tangled. A thread to me is an analogy for feelings or human relationships.
This human connection is made even more visceral through the use of red thread. These threads resemble veins, adding to the sensation of entering into a body as the visitor crosses into the altered spaces. One could imagine touching just one thread and making the whole work vibrate with life.
Another key theme in these works is the concept of home. In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Shiota explains how the idea of home changes from person to person, stating that “it is something very human; every person has their own different meaning or way of thinking about home, which is where their heart is.”
The body and the home are interconnected in these two installation works, and as Shiota later states in the same interview, “home is somewhere I can do my art work […] art is my home.” Her physical presence in a place, creating these threads and connections, is where she locates her home, and this sensation is what she is conveying through her installations.
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