Installation and performance artist Chiharu Shiota (b. Osaka, 1972) is best known for her monumental site-specific installations that fill up entire rooms with intricate webs of yarn. Everyday objects, such as suitcases, keys, beds, doors, boats and dresses, find themselves suspended or cocooned inside these labyrinthine installations. Shiota describes her installations as ‘drawings in the air’. The lines and the knots that her threads, almost always black or red, indicate her personal state of mind. “When I’m troubled the thread tangles up more irregularly and I make more knots. When I’m in a balanced mood, the weavings are more regular“, she has explained in one of her interviews.
She also weaves pathways and open spaces within her installations, encouraging the viewer to walk around and be a part of the installation and observe, experience and interpret them. The installation thus continues as a performance of sorts albeit devoid of the artist’s presence, with the viewer choosing to take one or more of these pathways that have been determined by Shiota. There is a constant blurring of lines between conscious and subconscious, wakefulness and dreaming. Each viewer’s experience is different, and Shiota has constantly shied away from giving absolute interpretations of her work, hoping to create an emotional impression rather than deliver a rational message, letting everyone have his or her own legitimate interpretation.
Chiharu Shiota: Destination at Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris
A solo show of Chiharu Shiota’s installations and canvases, “Chiharu Shiota: Destination” is currently on view at the two gallery spaces of Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris. Her main installation, Destination (2017) fills up one entire room in a giant tidal wave-like web of red yarn. The metallic hull of a boat is ensconced within this monumental yet delicate network of threads. The piece is reminiscent of her installation The Key in Hand (2015) which was shown at the Japanese Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale. A similar web of red yarn enveloped the rustic hulls of two wooden boats. Shiota linked 50,000 keys, collected from all over the world, which hung within and alongside these boats. Destination, although at first glance similar to The Key in Hand, marks a departure from it in that there are no old boats but a semblance of one. There is also a marked absence of used or previously owned objects, distinctive of Shiota’s practice.