Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles


Encompassing the entire ground floor of the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), ‘The Soul Trembles’ is a survey from almost thirty years of renowned Japanese-born, Berlin-based artist Chiharu Shiota’s practice since the 1990s, incorporating large-scale installations, sculpture, video performance, photography, drawing and set design.

The largest and most comprehensive exhibition to date, Shiota’s compelling immersive artworks draw on deeply personal emotions and experiences to give visual form to intangible concepts such as memories, anxiety, dreams and silence.


Experience the scale and diversity of the works as GOMA is transformed until 3 October 2022 with this exclusive and immersive exhibition, showcasing the work of a unique artist. Shiota’s artistic practice is deeply personal, expressed through works with universal themes and ambitions. The exhibition title refers to the inexpressible stirrings of the heart, while the countless threads of the artist’s striking, room-filling installations allude to the complex connections that reach deep into our being.

Moving her hands to create a three-dimensional drawing, Shiota gradually forms a surface from the lines of thread until they completely fill the space — we are instantaneously fascinated and bewitched by the extraordinary worlds created.

RELATED: The Soul Trembles in Brisbane

Chiharu Shiota, Japan/Germany b.1972 / Uncertain Journey 2016/2019 / Installation view in ‘Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles’, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2022 / Metal frame, red wool / Dimensions variable / © Chiharu Shiota / Photograph: Natasha Harth © QAGOMA

The exhibition features seven of the artist’s intricately woven red and black thread installations including A question of perspective 2022 (illustrated), a major new commission supported by Tim Fairfax AC, drawing on Shiota’s memories of Uluru, experienced on her first visit to Australia.

Highlights of the exhibition include Uncertain journey 2016/2019, a series of boat forms interconnected by a vast membrane of red thread and In Silence 2002/2019 (illustrated), an installation featuring a burnt baby grand piano connected to rows of singed empty wooden seats by a complex environment of black thread.

DELVE DEEPER: The beautiful, disquieting work of Chiharu Shiota

Born in Osaka in 1972, Shiota enrolled at Kyoto Seika University to study painting in 1992. After a formative year at Canberra School of Art from 1993-94 where she abandoned painting in favour of the expressive immediacy of performance and installation, Shiota then based her practice in Berlin from 1999 developing a practice of truly international reach.

Chiharu Shiota, Japan/Germany b.1972 / Installation view of In Silence 2002/2019 in ‘The Soul Trembles’, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane / Burnt piano, burnt chair, Alcantara black thread / Dimensions variable / © Chiharu Shiota / Production support: Alcantara S.p.A / Photograph: N Harth © 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.

Featured image: Chiharu Shiota, Japan/Germany b.1972 / Installation view of A question of perspective 2022  in ‘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 Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Chiharu Shiota / Photograph: M Campbell © QAGOMA