17. September - 12. November 2016 Berlin

UNCERTAIN JOURNEY

Chiharu Shiota, Uncertain Journey, 2016, Installation View, ourtesy the artist and Blain|Southern © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn 2016 Photo | Christian Glaeser
Chiharu Shiota, Uncertain Journey, 2016, Installation View, ourtesy the artist and Blain|Southern © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn 2016 Photo | Christian Glaeser
Chiharu Shiota, Uncertain Journey, 2016, Installation View, ourtesy the artist and Blain|Southern © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn 2016 Photo | Christian Glaeser
Chiharu Shiota, Uncertain Journey, 2016, Installation View, ourtesy the artist and Blain|Southern © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn 2016 Photo | Christian Glaeser

Chiharu Shiota exhibits at Blain|Southern

For her first exhibition with Blain|Southern, Chiharu Shiota has created a new site-specific monumental installation in the Berlin gallery, eight years after she last exhibited in her home city. Shiota is primarily known for her immersive installations, such as The Key in the Hand, with which she represented Japan at the Venice Biennale in 2015. Weaving intricate networks of yarn, the artist creates new visual planes as if she were painting in mid-air.

Uncertain Journey centres around one installation that dominates the gallery’s vast central atrium. Seemingly growing from above, a dense web of red yarn reaches down towards the skeletal hulls of boats which rest on the gallery floor below. Enclosed by the canopy overhead, the boat carcasses raise existential questions of fate and belonging, evoking ideas that can be as complex as the tangled yarn itself. 'Our lives are like a journey without a destination, even though we don’t know where we are heading, we cannot stop. I wanted to emphasise this feeling of travelling with nowhere to go whilst alluding to a search for a sense of belonging,' says Shiota with regard to the ideas she wanted to express with the installation.

The colour of blood, the nexus of yarn is laden with symbolism, for the artist it echoes the interior of the body and the complex network of neural connections in the brain. The interwoven strands also express the connections between people, 'the lines of yarn speak for me about everything that connects people, about changing human relationships…the installation is like one vast network, with the boats carrying us through on a journey of uncertainty and wonder.'

The gallery’s second floor mezzanine offers an alternative perspective, a bird’s eye view, several steps removed from the psychological weight of the entanglement below. On this floor in the Long Gallery, new two dimensional thread-on-canvas works further explore the ideas used in the main space. Shiota studied painting early in her education but restricted by the use of canvas and paint, she proceeded to push against the definitions of the medium. At first using her own body in performance pieces, she later began to use thread as a mode for formal and conceptual expression.

The exhibition 'Uncertain Journey' will be open to visitors daily (Tues - Sat) from 11am – 6pm at Blain|Southern Gallery in Berlin until 12 November 2016. 

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