The Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota rcently presenting her exhibition entitled ‘Destination’ at Galerie Daniel Templon in Paris.
Born in 1972 in the Japanese city of Osaka, Chiharu Shiota has been living and working in Berlin since 1997. She studied at the Berlin University of Fine Arts then the Hamburg University of Fine Arts and worked at Rebecca Horn’s studio and with Marina Abramovic. Her artistic language has been influenced by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse and Ana Mendieta, both in terms of physical experimentation and an exploration of the unconscious, and with the choice of delicate materials like fabrics and thread, traditionally associated with femininity. Shiota’s radical and protean artistic approach explores the notions of the body, temporality, movement, memory and dreams. Her site-specific installations are often the theatre for performances designed by the artist and involving the mental and bodily participation of the viewer.
Following her eye-catching work at the Bon Marché Rive Gauche in Paris in early 2017, Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota is returning to both Galerie Templon’s spaces with a spectacular site-specific installation and a series of new sculptures.
She explains: ‘I have been using boats since my exhibition at the Japan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015; I wanted to create one oversized boat representing the topics I have touched on in my most recent works. Ships carry people and time. They feature a defined direction, with no other choice but to keep moving forward. Though we may not know where we are heading, we can never stop. Life is a journey of uncertainty and wonder, and the boats symbolize the bearers of our dreams and hopes.’
A huge 5-metre boat, the frame of its hull resembling a human skeleton, floats in a sea of red yarn. It is mirrored by a smaller 3.5 metre boat on the ground. Following on from the environment they create is a diptych of paintings, the Skins, depicting ambiguous yet poetic representations of the body, its surface, its networks of connections. A series of red yarn sculptures ensnaring various objects, such as a dress and a weapon, completes an ensemble that raises the metaphysical questions that face us as humans, the difficulty we have understanding the world, and the complex relations that link us.
‘During humanity’s early years, death used to be connected to human life’s destination. It could be easier to find an answer to the question of our purpose in life. We were more aware of the creative processe and the different steps along the way. Nowadays, we build and create on a massive scale, including things we don’t need, with no clear goal in sight, at a vertiginous speed…’
Video in French with English subtitles