Chiharu Shiota: An uncertain Journey


Thread is a material synonymous with Chiharu Shiota’s installations. Moving her hands to create a three-dimensional drawing, the lines of thread gradually form a surface, then completely fill the space. ‘Threads become entangled, intertwined, cut off, bound, and stretched. Threads, which manipulate the heart, can also sometimes be used to express the relationship between people.’

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In Shiota’s installations, currently in ‘Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles’ at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Brisbane until 3 October 2022, overlapping threads that are jet black or deep red begin as surfaces that gradually turn into entire spaces: these works first reach completion when our eyes are no longer able to follow the threads. ‘At that point, I feel as if I am able to glimpse what lies beyond and touch the truth.’

For Shiota, the uncertainty associated with not being able to see the future is also a motivating force that pushes her towards making work, in an effort to seek out the certainties of existence. Boats are used as an intermediary between the certainty and uncertainty of existence.

Uncertain Journey

Threads become tangled, intertwined, broken off, unraveled.

They constantly reflect a part of my mental state, as if they were expressing the state of human relationships.

Chiharu Shiota

Chiharu Shiota, Japan/Germany b.1972 / Installation view of Uncertain Journey 2016/2022 in ‘Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles’, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane / Metal frame, red wool / © Chiharu Shiota / Photographs: N Harth & C Callistermon © 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.