In Silence was born out of a memory of the next-door house burning down in the middle of the night when Chiharu Shiota was a child. A burned piano and audience seating, including the surrounding space, are covered in black thread. While symbolising silence, the soundless piano plays visual music. This installation can be viewed in ‘The Soul Trembles’ at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Brisbane until 3 October 2022.
DELVE DEEPER: The Soul Trembles in Brisbane
When I was nine, there was a fire at the house next to ours.
The next day, there was a piano sitting outside the house. Scorched until it was jet black, it seemed an even more beautiful symbol than before.
An ineffable silence came over me, and over the next few days, whenever the window blew that burning smell into our house, I could feel my voice start to cloud over.
There are things that sink deep into the recesses of my mind, and others that fail to take either a physical or verbal form, no matter how hard you try.
But they exist as souls without a tangible form.
The more you think about them, the more their sounds disappear from my mind, and the more tangible their existence becomes.
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.
Featured image: Installation view of In Silence 2002/2022 in ‘The Soul Trembles’, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane / Photograph: C Callistermon © QAGOMA