The motif of the boat features frequently in Chiharu Shiota’s works, conjuring up visions of uncertain lives and futures akin to tiny boats bobbing in vast oceans. These suspended boats invite you to embark on a journey through ‘The Soul Trembles’ at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Brisbane until 3 October 2022.
DELVE DEEPER: The Soul Trembles in Brisbane
The boat carries our hopes and dreams, it adapts to the movement of the wavy lines of the sea, and they give us guidance while we travel on calm and turbulent waters alike. The defined architecture of the boat forces it to move forward, we cannot stop, but we also don’t know where we are heading. Our human condition confronts us with the questions “What now?,” “Who are we?,” and “Where are we going?”
After the Venice Biennale (2015), I wanted to continue incorporating boats into my installations because they carry various meanings. They enable me to bind my installation and my experience with people from the exhibition site. As the boat accumulates memory, it emits history and connection.
The boats carry time and people, and for the installation Where are we going? 2017/2022 (illustrated), the boats even move so through different dimensions. I used wire to create the defined form of the boat and hung sheets of white thread from the wire. With this technique the boats are visible in one dimension but are hidden in another. The color of the boats adds a different aspect of human life to my work; white is pure, but at the same time, it conjures images of death in certain situations. It can be a new beginning and an end. It is a blank space; it is timeless.
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 Where are we going? 2017/2022 in ‘Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles’, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane / Photograph: C Callistermon © QAGOMA