Chiharu Shiota Artworks

Chiharu Shiota's is best known for her mixed-media web-like art installations using yarn in combination with an array of objects. Shiota confronts her own experiences by cultivating special spaces with a physical and emotional passage in mind.

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Memory of Skin

Shiota's life experiences—of leaving her country and facing illness as a young woman—are woven into her practice, which, in its grace, welcomes others to co-exist. Works such as Memory of Skin (2000) saw inordinately long dresses hung high and constantly dripping with water. These dresses were a metaphor for cyclical thoughts. Installations that incorporated empty beds, such as During Sleep (2000), heralded a similar feeling. In these symbolic objects, thoughtfully framed by colour, the viewer finds cues to birth, sickness and death.

The Key in Hand

Now settled in Berlin, the artist' more recent artworks are characterised by a mixture of performance, sculpture and drawing in space with found objects mostly woven into yarn webs. From a collection of mismatched shoes to suitcases, dresses, keys, pages from a book, bed frames and doors, the materials she introduces have lived elsewhere but are summoned as an artery for a personal and collective psychological experience.

When Shiota suspends mementoes in tessellating string, the viewer is led to think about both containment and protection. In The Key in the Hand, presented at the 2015 Venice Biennale in the Japan Pavilion, plumes of red yarn were dotted with keys. These inverted waves floated above a series of boats like hands.

Coloured Yarn

In a conversation with Ocula Magazine in 2016, Shiota said of her use of yarn, 'It is soft and I use it like a mirror of my feelings ... Yarn has tension like a human relationship.' While line and materiality are obvious keynotes in her work, colour is critical. Chiharu Shiota exclusively selects red, black or white yarn for the pregnant and hollowed spaces she creates.

The metaphor is not didactic, her audience is invited to associate meaning or feeling with colour. Black has historically accompanied works exploring illness and death, such as Conscious Sleep (2016), for the 20th Biennale of Sydney, whereas snow-like threads swathe boats with a hopeful energy in Chiharu Shiota's Where are we going? (2017) and Memory of the Ocean (2017), both displayed at Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, Paris. Prior to working almost exclusively with red, Chiharu's use of black yarn and symbolic objects pointed to the inexplicability of the universe and pain.

It's not difficult to imagine that Shiota's continued use of red is emblematic of a journey, the movement of blood through our veins or the 'fated path' red string represents in Japanese, Chinese and Korean cultures. Red couples positivity and pathos. For example, in a red yarn installation Dialogue From DNA (2004) we are attune to both loss and the inevitability of change. In Uncertain Journey (2019) that explores themes of the unpredictable journey of life, red yarn simultaneously suggests veins and nerves, and the complex web of ever evolving human connection.

Video and Performance

Traces of Maring Abramović's influence and others can be found in the sustained performative elements of Chiharu's practice. From the early 2000s, the artist made a number of video works in which the artists body was a key element.

As part of some of the early Bed-based instillations such as Breathing from the Earth (2000) and During Sleep (2002), the artist herself or other women carried out performative actions getting in and out of the beds.

In the 2010 video Wall, the artist's body is entangled in tubes carrying a blood-like substance. In simulating these external restrictions, the artist explores the metaphorical walls within her own blood: race, culture, gender and other sources of artificial human boundaries of division.

Browse Artworks
Connected to the Universe CS/D 231232 by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork textile
Chiharu Shiota Connected to the Universe CS/D 231232, 2023 Thread on canvas
41 x 31 cm
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Connected to the Universe CS/D 231231 by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork textile
Chiharu Shiota Connected to the Universe CS/D 231231, 2023 Thread on canvas
41 x 31 cm
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State of Being (Brush, Mirror) by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork sculpture, textile
Chiharu Shiota State of Being (Brush, Mirror), 2023 Metal frame, brush, mirror, thread
80 x 45 x 45 cm
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Cell by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork sculpture
Chiharu Shiota Cell, 2021 Glass, wire
30 x 265 cm
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Endless Line by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork textile
Chiharu Shiota Endless Line, 2023 Thread on canvas
140 x 160 x 4 cm
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State of Being (Clocks) by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork sculpture
Chiharu Shiota State of Being (Clocks), 2022 Metal frame, clocks, threads
50 x 50 x 30 cm
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Connection to the Universe by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork painting
Chiharu Shiota Connection to the Universe, 2022 Water-soluble wax pastel, ink and thread on paper
24.5 x 33.5 cm
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Connection to the Universe by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork drawing, textile
Chiharu Shiota Connection to the Universe, 2022 Water-soluble wax pastel, ink and thread on paper
24.5 x 33.5 cm
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Cell by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork painting, sculpture, drawing
Chiharu Shiota Cell, 2020 Watercolour, crayon and thread on paper
24 x 17 cm
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State of Being (First Aid) by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork sculpture
Chiharu Shiota State of Being (First Aid), 2023 Metal frame, first aid kit, thread
80 x 45 x 45 cm
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State of Being by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork sculpture
Chiharu Shiota State of Being, 2023 Metal frame, thread
168 x 92 x 67 cm
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Memory Under the Skin by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork works on paper, sculpture
Chiharu Shiota Memory Under the Skin, 2023 Dress, motor, steel, paint
285 x 150 x 150 cm
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Connection to the Universe by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork sculpture
Chiharu Shiota Connection to the Universe, 2023 Thread on canvas
55 x 58 cm
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In the Hand by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork sculpture
Chiharu Shiota In the Hand, 2017 Bronze, wire, brass, varnish
40 x 41 x 30 cm
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State of Being (Diary) by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork sculpture
Chiharu Shiota State of Being (Diary), 2022 Metal, diaries and thread
80 x 45 x 45 cm
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Connected to the Universe by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture, drawing
Chiharu Shiota Connected to the Universe, 2023 Water-soluble wax pastel, ink and thread on paper
21 x 30 cm
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Connected to the Universe by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork works on paper, sculpture, drawing
Chiharu Shiota Connected to the Universe, 2023 Water-soluble wax pastel, ink and thread on paper
31 x 43 cm
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Connected to the Universe by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture, drawing
Chiharu Shiota Connected to the Universe, 2023 Wax, ink and thread on paper
20 x 50 cm
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Connected to the Universe by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork painting, sculpture
Chiharu Shiota Connected to the Universe, 2022 Watercolour and thread on paper
31 x 42 cm
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Connected to the Universe by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture
Chiharu Shiota Connected to the Universe, 2022 Watercolour and thread on paper
40 x 30 cm
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Connected to the Universe by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Chiharu Shiota Connected to the Universe, 2022 Watercolour and thread on paper
21.5 x 30 cm
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Connected to the Universe by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture
Chiharu Shiota Connected to the Universe, 2022 Watercolour and thread on paper
21.5 x 30 cm
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Red Line XXIII by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Chiharu Shiota Red Line XXIII, 2012 Oil pastel on paper
48 x 36 cm
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Red Line XXII by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Chiharu Shiota Red Line XXII, 2012 Oil pastel on paper
48 x 36 cm
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In Between by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Chiharu Shiota In Between, 2015 Oil stick and pencil on paper
17 x 24 cm
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The Key in the Hand by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork photography
Chiharu Shiota The Key in the Hand, 2015 C-print
195 x 295 cm
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Protect by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork works on paper
Chiharu Shiota Protect, 2018 Watercolour, oil pastel and thread on paper
36 x 48 cm
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Hold by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork works on paper
Chiharu Shiota Hold, 2018 Watercolour, oil pastel and thread on paper
36 x 48 cm
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Mirror by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork works on paper, drawing
Chiharu Shiota Mirror, 2018 Watercolour, oil pastel and thread on paper
36 x 48 cm
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Lie Down by Chiharu Shiota contemporary artwork drawing
Chiharu Shiota Lie Down, 2018 Watercolour, oil pastel and thread on paper
36 x 48 cm
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Mimmo Scognamiglio Artecontemporanea
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