Home Magazine Chiharu Shiota, The Sensation Of Memory

Chiharu Shiota was born in 1972 in Osaka, Japan. She is mainly known for the installation The Key In The Hand (2015) that she presented at the 56th Venice Biennale, into Japan pavilion. But maybe someone doesn’t know that she was meant to be a painter. That was always the plan. Nevertheless, during the second year of art school in Japan, something changed. She began to explore the notions of the body, memory and dreams.

Now Chiharu Shiota creates poetic environments, physical experimentations and exploration of the unconscious. Her work is inseparable from the spaces in which she installs it. She gives us experiences and often her works ask our mental and bodily participation. Her main interest is in used possessions and belongings. She wants to underline the power of memory. Remembrance and oblivion, dreaming and sleeping, past and present are the main themes of her art.

I couldn’t paint anymore, because for me painting was just color on the canvas. It had no other meaning whatsoever. I found myself stuck, without being able to go back or forward. But I couldn’t quit art. I like to work with objects that have a trace of memory. Old objects always have a story behind them. I start thinking of who could have used it before, and my imagination runs free.

She worked at Rebecca Horn’s studio and with Maria Abramovic. She has been influenced by Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, Janine Antoni and Ana Mendieta. Then she moved in Berlin in 1996, where she still lives and works. Two main artistic currents influence her work: first, the Japanese tradition and, on the other hand, the lessons imparted by Marina Abramovic. She taught to Chiharu Shiota to work in a spirit of meditative concentration with simple gestures, but full of meaning.


 “When I lived in Japan, I never thought of my own nationality. But since I moved to Germany, I have been more aware of my Japanese heritage. Being from Japan and living in Germany has led to this ‘in between’ sensation that has remained since I left.” 


Take a glance to our selection of Chiharu Shiota's works on paper


Chiharu Shiota, Second Skin, 2014




Chiharu Shiota, In Between, 2015


Chiharu Shiota, The boat carry people and time, 2015


Chiharu Shiota, Three People, 2016

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