Home Magazine Follow the line of Chiharu Shiota...

Chiharu Shiota, best known as the human spider, is the woman who weaves objects and bodies into large canvases. By stretching threads through the space, disused communes, such as clothes and beds, are now common, the large enterprise investigating the meaning of life.

Discover more about Chiharu Shiota on Kooness and don't miss our article "Chiharu Shiota, The Sensation Of Memory". 

Chiharu Shiota biography

Chiharu Shiota was born in Japan, Osaka, and she currently lives in Berlin. Within her varied and expressive modalities it is possible to see different languages including sculpture, video and photography. Her first solo exhibition at the Kenji Taki Gallery in Tokyo was in 2001, but more usually than in galleries, her projects are placed in institutions or public places. For example in 2017 she made a spectacular installation of white thread entitled "Where Are We Going" at the Le Bon Marché in Paris. In 2007, for the solo show “From in Silence”, at Kanagawa Kenmin Hall, she was awarded with the Ministry of Education's Encouragement Award. Chiharu Shiota is a recognized artist especially after her participation in 2015 at the Venice Biennale inside the Japanese Pavillon. This presence has certainly contributed to her international recognition, even if it has not directly influenced prices. Since then, interest in her work has grown considerably. If you want to lose your self inside the best selection of Contemporary Japanese artists navigate on Kooness: Hiroshi Kaneyasu - Yoichiro Kamei - Mikiko Hara - Shinya Tanoue - Fumie Sasai -  Sakurako Matsushima!


Chiharu Shiota "The key in the hand"

For the 56th International Art Exhibition - Venice Biennale she created a gigantic installation, entitled "The key in the hand". The installation consisted of 50,000 keys intertwined in a complex red wire network. The keys were collected throughout Hungary, Serbia and Romania. The artist asked thousands of people to do this work. The intricate three-dimensional network of keys is a dense space inside which two large wooden boats are trapped. A key was attached to the end of each wire. "Every key evokes intimate memories, it is a familiar object that protects people and our lives", explains the artist.


“The Key in the Hand”, 2015, The 56th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia, Venice/Italy, photo by Sunhi Mang


Chiharu Shiota infinity lines

For the Japanese artist, the keys are familiar objects and of value because they protect people and important spacesgreat . An equally famous installation of hers is "Sleeping is like death", about which she commented "Beds are places where almost everyone is born and dies". In "Beyond the Continent", another successful work, the artist works with her traditional red threads unravelling through the space, tied and anchored to hundreds of the public's shoes. Chiharu Shiota collects and collects memories, clothes, keys and any kind of objects that have lived a history

"Clothes, keys, shoes are their way of being, they are their way of being, of representing themselves and of telling each other. They are a story to tell, a memory full of memories, and they can do it through these everyday objects. 


"Beyond Time" 2018, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, UK, photo by Jonty Wilde


For several years Shiota visited nearby abandoned buildings after the demolition of the Berlin wall and collected the old wooden frames of windows as if they were relics. The artist observing these objects, imagines the life of the inhabitants of Berlin are the thoughts that, despite being far away, are reflected in those windows. The artist then used these abandoned doors and windows after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to create archisculptures of different shapes and sizes.


After the Biennal...

Her presence at the Biennale has contributed much to her international recognition, even if it has not directly influenced the price of her artworks. Since then the interest in it has grown considerably. The year after the Biennale she joined the rosta of Blain & Southern, and she had a solo show at Mimmo Scognamiglio in Milan, the only one in Italy. Scognamiglio had already included her work in a group exhibition in 2010 (after having discovered it in an exhibition curated by James Putnam) and it is now in the exhibition at Domodossola for the 20th anniversary of the gallery. Its prices range from 2,000 to 4,500 euros for drawings at 30-40,000 euros for sculptures. Shiota work is in many Japanese collections, but also in several private and institutional European collections, such as the one by Antoine de Galbert in Paris, the PasquArt Center in Biel / Bienne in Switzerland, Kiasmadi Helsinki, Alison and Peter W. Klein in Nussdorf in Germany, of the Leopolda Vienna museum, of the Museum für Neue Kunstdi Freiburg in Germany, of Ömer Koc in Istanbul and of Erika Hoffmann of Berlin. The personal exhibition at the Kode Art Museum in Bergen, Norway, is scheduled for next year.


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