Art of the Week: Chiharu Shiota’s fragile, transparent Room of Memory

Chiharu Shiota – A Room of Memorya, 2009, old wooden windows, group exhibition Hundred Stories about Love, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan. Credit: Public Delivery

By Alliance Communications Coordinator Amy Durr

Featuring another AAPI artist, Osaka-born, Berlin-based artist Chiharu Shiota is most known for her room-sized, textile-based installations comprising thousands of fine threads, which form intricate webs, claustrophobic clusters, or even tunnels, according to ArtAsiaPacific. Shiota decided at the age of 12 to become an artist and explore spirituality. Her works deal with both body and territory, weaving together personal narratives and universal experiences about memory, identity and belonging

ArtAsiaPacific discusses Room of Memory: “In 1996, Shiota arrived in Berlin, which had experienced a period of political turmoil after the fall of the Berlin Wall…For Shiota, Berlin was a “town in motion” that was “constantly renewing itself.” She gathered hundreds of derelict windows from old houses standing where East Berlin was, wondering “how East Berliners felt about the West Berliner’s way of life.” Using these windows, she mounted, compiled, and formed a large-scale structure in the shape of a house.

“She likened the windows to her skin, dividing the inside from the outside. As an immigrant, Shiota felt that her identity existed somewhere in between Germany and Japan. Against the backdrop of mass displacement and immigration, the fragile, transparent structure in House of Windows demonstrates the vulnerability of peripatetic modern nomads who have to make a home wherever they find themselves.”

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