Chiharu Shiota - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Thursday, December 3, 2020 | Phillips

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  • "A thread to me is an analogy for feelings or human relationships. When using it, I do not know how to lie. I can create unlimited spaces that seem to me to gradually expand into a universe. When I can no longer trace a yarn installation or art object with my eye, it begins to feel complete." —Chiharu Shiota

    Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota is highly acclaimed for creating immersive environments with intricate woven yarns. Her multidisciplinary and thought-provoking oeuvre delves into the depths of personal memory and emotions, touching upon universal concepts of identity, temporality and existence. Chiharu Shiota was trained in painting before gravitating toward three-dimensionality when she studied under the renowned performance artist Marina Abramović in Germany. Incorporating participatory experiences to her powerful site-specific installations made with red or black threads spread across the entire space, the artist gives material form to the intangible realm of memories, anxiety, dreams and silence.


    Chiharu Shiota © Gianni Plescia

    State of Being (Spiral) (lot 166 ) is a compelling example of Shiota’s working and conceptual processes. The skilful weaving of threads explores the notion of surface and the traditional boundaries of painting. In the artist’s own words, “weaving gave me the opportunity to expand and I feel as if I am drawing in the air on a limitless space.” i The red thread represents the widely-held East Asian belief that the colour binds people together through lineage. These untraceable lines and tensions tangle and interact like human relationships, alluding to the interconnectedness of humans, objects and each other.


    The artist also works frequently with everyday objects such as clothes, books or keys in her signature sculpture series. In State of Being (Shoes) (lot 167 ), Shiota boxes up a pair of shoes inside a web of threads, articulating sentiments of nostalgia towards familiar objects. In 2014, the artist created a large-scale installation at the Smithsonian Institute with thousands of pairs of worn shoes each accompanied by a note detailing memories associated with the particular item. Connecting these memories with red threads, the artist’s poetic journey explores the secret ties between our inner emotions and tangible objects, and seeks to deconstruct our conception of physical existence. As the art critic John Neylon once remarks that Shiota’s “philosophy of life and indeed her multifarious forms of expression regards these threads that characterise her practice as representations of a truth – that there are in fact threads of connection that bind us all.” ii  In this work, the thread separates one’s physical contact with the object, yet at the same time the structure allows for a new psychological space to emerge that bears the imprint of one’s own existence and consciousness. 


    Installation view of Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2019

    Currently based in Berlin, Chiharu Shiota represented Japan at the 2015 Venice Biennale, confirming the international scope of her work. The artist was recently the subject of a major retrospective at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2019) and Gallery of Modern Art in Australia (2020), which will travel to the Museum MACAN in Indonesia November 2020 followed by the Taipei Fine Arts museum.


    Chiharu Shiota speaks about her installation “The Key in the Hand” in the Japanese Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale.

    i Chiharu Shiota quoted in, ‘Weaving New Worlds: Designboom speaks to Chiharu Shiota’, designboom, 2017, online
    iiJohn Neylon, ‘Chiharu Shiota's breaking point’, The Adelaide Review, 10 October 2018

    • Provenance

      Galerie Templon, Paris
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


State of Being (Spiral)

red thread and metal frame
56 x 60 x 69 cm. (22 x 23 5/8 x 27 1/8 in.)
Executed in 2017.

Full Cataloguing

HK$150,000 - 250,000 

Sold for HK$756,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 4 December 2020