On the eve of Art Brussels, artist Chiharu Shiota will be unveiling a new installation, Black Rain, at Galerie Templon in Brussels. This immersive work with its spectacular setting of black umbrellas was created as a reaction to drastic experiences in the artist’s life.
The artist explains: 'A storm appears on the horizon, the clouds grow darker and darker. This is not a light drizzle, cleaning the air giving life to earth, this is a natural catastrophe, threatening my existence. The black sky absorbs all light, all life.
Underneath the umbrella, the sound of the rain grows louder and louder. It is deafening. The rain has turned black, my emotions have become dull, my existence is uncertain. With my installation Black Rain I want to express this dark time in my life, the storm that I have endured.
In 2017, the doctor informed me that the cancer had returned, it had been twelve years since I had recovered from this disease. In this time, I had been working constantly, creating new installations and traveling to exhibitions, I was occupied with life and had forgotten that life is limited. After the cancer had returned, I realised that life and death are much more closely connected. I cannot escape death, but I have realised that my strength in life is reached by the confrontation of death.
To be alive means to endure suffering, it is part of our existence. This is our story. I transformed my suffering to create something new, which made me feel hopeful.'
A forest of suspended umbrellas, Black Rain shrouds visitors under a dark mantle, both menacing and reassuring, disturbing and dreamlike. As a counterpoint, Chiharu Shiota is presenting a new collection of sculptures and paintings in unexpected materials: gilt bronze, blood-red glass, red and white thread. Hands stretch out and encircle, the woven threads allude to skin and breath. Life is lived fuller; energy spreads across the space.
Born in Osaka, Japan, in 1972, Chiharu Shiota has been living and working in Berlin since 1999.
After a degree in painting at Seika university in Kyoto, Chiharu Shiota turned to performance and pursued her artistic studies in Berlin at Marina Abramovic’s and Rebecca Horn’s workshops. Chiharu Shiota is a renowned artist whose work has been exhibited for twenty years internationally. She represented Japan at the 2015 Venice Biennale.
Her work has been the subject of numerous museum solo exhibitions including Infinity Lines, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia, (USA), Under the Skin, Kunsthalle Rostock, Rostock (Germany) and Direction, KODE-Art Museums of Bergen, Bergen (Norway) in 2017, and in 2018 The Butterfly Dream, Kyoto Art for Tomorrow, Museum of Kyoto (Japan), The Distance, Gothenburg Museum of Art, Gothenburg (Sweden) and Embodied & Internal, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (Australia).
Until the 16th June, Chiharu Shiota is presenting Beyond Memory at Gropius Bau, Berlin (Germany). In June 2019, she will be presenting The Soul Trembles, a major retrospective of her work at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo (Japan). She has been represented by Galerie Templon since 2011.
Press release courtesy Templon.