Chiharu Shiota: A question of perspective


Chiharu Shiota’s enveloping, ethereal creations give form to intangible concepts such as memory, dreams, anxiety and silence. ‘The Soul Trembles’ at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) until 3 October 2022, is the Japanese-born, Berlin-based artist’s largest and most comprehensive exhibition to date.

The exhibition title ‘The Soul Trembles’ refers to the inexpressible stirrings of the heart, while the countless threads of Shiota’s striking, room-filling installations allude to the complex connections that reach deep into our being, touching on what it is to be human.

The exhibition includes this new commission for QAGOMA. The major installation A question of perspective 2022 draws on the artist’s memories of Uluru, experienced on her first visit to Australia.

Watch | Chiharu Shiota discusses A question of perspective’ 2022

A question of perspective — a dense arrangement of thick black polypropylene ropes and sheets of paper, suspended over an empty table and chair — touches on themes of absence and vulnerability within Shiota’s practice, and being confronted by the enormity and complexity of existence.

The work harks back to the year she spent as an art student in Australia in the 1990s, when she took the opportunity to travel the country widely. Shiota recalls visiting Uluru in central Australia and observing the vast desert planes around it, which brought to mind the planet’s circumference, the movement of the stars, and the scientific questions that once ‘deprived Galileo of his sleep’.

In A question of perspective, what she describes as a ‘black universe of ropes’ is intended to evoke a similar sense of mystery and wonder, while the chair at its centre implies absence and emptiness.

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Chiharu Shiota A question of perspective’ 2022

Chiharu Shiota, Japan/Germany b.1972 / Installation view and detail of A question of perspective 2022 in ‘Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles’, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane / Polypropylene ropes, 80mg paper, found furniture, cable ties, staples / 500 x 810 x 1215cm / Commissioned 2022 with funds from Tim Fairfax AC through the QAGOMA Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Chiharu Shiota / Photographs: C Callistemon & M Campbell © QAGOMA

GOMA is the exclusive Australian venue for ‘Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles’ in The Fairfax Gallery (1.1), Gallery 1.2 and the Eric & Marion Taylor Gallery (1.3), Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Brisbane from 18 June – 3 October 2022.

Organised by the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, and curated by Mami Kataoka, Director, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo.