Chiharu Shiota - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle Hong Kong Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | Phillips

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  • "My creations with thread are reflections of my own feelings. A thread can be a cut, a knot or a loop, or can be loose or sometimes tangled. A thread to me is an analogy for feelings or human relationships. When using it, I do not know how to lie. If I weave something and it turns out to be ugly, twisted, or knotted, then such must have been my feelings when I was working."
    — Chiharu Shiota

    Globally renowned Japanese-born, Berlin-based artist Chiharu Shiota is celebrated for her sublime and spectacular stretched thread installations and artworks, in which she explores the relationship between personal and collective memories, the tangible and intangible, and the ephemeral and eternal. A single thread for Shiota represents the start of a connection, which can grow and develop in an uncountable number of ways to form both intricate and expansive universes that each pulsate with their own unique vibrations.


    The present work comprises part of Shiota’s State of Being sculptural series. For this body of works, the artist suspends everyday objects such as clothes, books, or keys, within metal box frames covered in a tangle of web. Here, a small, dainty pair of children’s shoes are densely wrapped in black, cocooning string, perhaps suggesting a metaphor for childhood innocence that seems so close yet still out of reach. 


    Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., Chiharu Shiota: Perspectives, 30 August 2014 – 7 June 2015

    At the same time, the shoe motif harkens back to Shiota’s important exhibition in 2015 at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D. C., where the artist filled the pavilion of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery with various shoes tied to yarn. The installation explored how familiar objects gain and lose meaning, such as shoes acting like a ‘second skin’ that contain the imprint of a person and their experiences, even when the individual is absent. Each of the 250 shoes in the exhibition was tied to a handwritten note about their owner, whom Shiota found through outreach on social media and in newspapers. As such, although each note revealed a unique history and story, as the strands of yarn met in a corner of the room, the installation further represented the wider connections made between people and community. 

    Having exhibited extensively throughout the world, including being selected to represent Japan at the 56th Venice Biennale, Shiota was recently honoured with a 25-year survey of her oeuvre. Titled Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles, this major exhibition was hosted by Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) between 18 June – 3 October 2022, following its initial staging in 2019 at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, and successive exhibitons in Taipei and Shanghai. 



    Chiharu Shiota with her work
    Photo: Sunhi Mang
    Courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery

    Chiharu Shiota in Conversation with Tatler


    The following is an excerpt from an interview held between Chiharu Shiota and Tatler in 2021


    TATLER: Among your famous work is the use of black and red threads, what’s the story behind this? Why do you choose threads specifically?

    SHIOTA: A red thread is like the inside of the body, like the colour of blood. For me, this colour also symbolises connection so I wanted to connect with the people. The colour black is deep, like the universe or the night sky. It’s more abstract but also like a pencil line in a drawing.

    I always wanted to be a painter but during university, I couldn’t paint anymore. Painting didn’t have any meaning to me so I wanted to create my own art by making a three-dimensional line from the canvas into space. I’m drawing in the air.


    TATLER: You had a very colourful life from Osaka to Kyoto to Australia then Germany. How have your experiences in these places shaped the kind of artist you are and the kind of art that you make?

    SHIOTA: When I travel farther from Japan, I can see more about my identity. When I am in Japan, I don’t think about myself. But in a different country, I can see how I am and see more of myself.

    TATLER: How has your creative practice changed over the years?

    SHIOTA: My early work is more about the second skin. I believe that our clothing is our second skin, all our memories accumulate in our clothing. And space is like a third skin, that is why I collected many windows in Berlin from old GDR (German Democratic Republic or East Germany) buildings. I collect everything wherever I see a story or memory. I think my work changed because my work is connected to my life. I’m inspired by life and when life changes, my work changes.

    TATLER You’re Japanese but based in Berlin, do you combine the two cultures when creating an artwork?


    SHIOTA: I think I combine two cultures but I am not just making Japanese or German art. For me, it’s more important to find an identity to make my own artwork. The culture is important, but that’s not my main purpose. I don’t like these categories—I want to be free as an artist.


    Read the full interview here.  

    • Provenance

      Galerie Christophe Gaillard, Paris
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


State of Being #6

signed with the artist's initials 'CS' lower right side edge
metal frame, old childrens' shoes and black thread
20 x 20 x 20 cm. (7 7/8 x 7 7/8 x 7 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2009.

Full Cataloguing

HK$350,000 - 550,000 

Sold for HK$441,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle

Hong Kong Auction 30 November 2022