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Shiota Chiharu weaves powerful message in breathtaking Taipei show

The Japanese artist's 'The Soul Trembles' features some of her most expansive and representative works

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Japanese contemporary artist Shiota Chiharu's solo show at TFAM. (Taiwan News, Lyla Liu photo)  

Japanese contemporary artist Shiota Chiharu's solo show at TFAM. (Taiwan News, Lyla Liu photo)  

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — One of Japan's foremost contemporary artists, Shiota Chiharu, is the subject of a solo show in Taipei opening Saturday (May 1), featuring her immersive art installations made of countless threads that reflect the "emotional stirrings of her heart."

Curated by Mami Kataoka, director of Tokyo's Mori Art Museum, Shiota's "The Soul Trembles" features some of her most expansive and representative works. The show made its debut in Tokyo in 2019, and Taipei is the first stop on a world tour.

The Berlin-based artist was mentored by the veteran performance artist Marina Abramovic and inspired by Polish sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz. However, Shiota's career as a purely graphic artist came to a pause when she realized the medium could not fully represent her thoughts, at which point she started working on sculptures and installations.

"I use threads to draw in spaces," said Shiota on Friday (April 30). She added that her works usually focus on portraying the feelings that words fail to describe, such as pain and anxiety.

Her renowned large-scale installations such as, "Where are We Going?" "Uncertain Journey," and "In Silence," feature countless, intertwined red, black, and white threads, which mirror the artist's emotional state after being diagnosed with cancer.

Shiota Chiharu weaves powerful message in breathtaking Taipei show
"Where are We Going?" (Taiwan News, Lyla Liu photo)

Shiota Chiharu weaves powerful message in breathtaking Taipei show
"In Silence" (Taiwan News, Lyla Liu photo)

The return of cancer was diagnosed in 2019, soon after Shiota had agreed to hold a major retrospective of her work at Mori Art Museum in Japan. "I never felt death so close to me and the bad news influenced me tremendously."

"I kept wondering where my thoughts and soul would go after my body vanished. However, I want to survive more than ever," said Shiota. She added that this feeling was a strong theme in her breathtaking immersive artworks that are being shown at Taipei Fine Arts Museum.

Shiota, who lives in Berlin, said that in her third year living in Germany she started using skin as a symbol to develop artworks, which she compared to clothing as way to show identity. This can be seen in the work, "Reflection of Space and Time," for which she created dense networks of black thread around two white dresses and placed a double-sided mirror between them.

In addition to creating visual artworks, Chiharu has worked as a stage designer on nine operas and theatrical productions. The exhibition also includes documentary films and drawings to show her three-dimensional artworks.

The exhibition will run until Aug. 29 at Taipei Fine Arts Museum, and there will be workshops for students of all ages. For further information, visit the website.


Updated : 2021-05-14 11:22 GMT+08:00