Japanese Artist Chiharu Shiota Installs Monumental Work in Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery

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Assembled Beginning Aug. 18, Public Installation Embodies Personal Memories

Performance and installation artist Chiharu Shiota, Japan’s representative at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, will recreate a monumental yet intimate work in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery pavilion this summer as part of the museum’s “Perspectives” contemporary art series. On view Aug. 30–June 7, 2015, “Perspectives: Chiharu Shiota” will transform everyday objects—yarn, shoes and handwritten notes—into a dramatic and emotionally charged installation. 

Haunted by the traces that the human body leaves behind, the work amasses personal memories through an accumulation of nearly 400 individual shoes. Collected by the artist, each shoe comes with a note from the donor describing lost individuals and past moments. In this installation, titled “Over the Continents,” almost 4 miles of red yarn will wrap around the shoes and attach to a single point in the pavilion, evoking the artist’s attention to the fundamental ties that connect humans to one another and the world.

Visitors will be able to watch as Shiota installs the work Aug. 18–21 in the museum’s pavilion prior to its official opening.

“Shiota creates deeply personal and poetic environments using the simplest of materials,” said Carol Huh, assistant curator of contemporary art at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. “As visitors enter the Sackler, they are invited to consider the life of an object—even the most familiar one—and its power to stimulate the imagination and profound emotional reactions.”

Additional exhibition features—including video footage of the installation process, reproductions of the notes and information on gallery curator talks and film screenings—will be available online at asia.si.edu/shiota.

The Sackler Gallery’s “Perspectives” series presents large-scale works by internationally renowned contemporary artists. Previous exhibitions have featured the works of Ai Weiwei, Y.Z. Kami, Anish Kapoor, Do-Ho Suh, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Cai Guo-Qiang and Hale Tenger, among others. Shiota is the first Japanese artist to be featured since the series began with Yayoi Kusama in 2003.

About the Artist

Currently based in Berlin, Shiota (b. 1972, Osaka, Japan) is best known for her large-scale yet intricate installations that explore the relationships between the human body, memory and loss. Trained in drawing and sculpture, Shiota’s practice developed during her studies in performance art under Marina Abramovic and Rebecca Horn. Since 1999, she has been gaining international acclaim for her site-specific installations and stage designs. Her work has been exhibited worldwide, including at the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (Sydney, 2013), Museum on the Seam (Jerusalem, 2013), Casa Asia (Barcelona, 2012), The National Museum of Art (Osaka, 2008), Neue Nationalgalerie (Berlin, 2006) and MoMA PS1 (New York, 2003), as well as the Biennials in Venice, Italy, and in Fukuoka and Yokohama, Japan.

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located at 1050 Independence Avenue S.W., and the adjacent Freer Gallery of Art, located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W., are on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day (closed Dec. 25), and admission is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information about the Freer and Sackler galleries and their exhibitions, programs and other public events, visit www.asia.si.edu. For general Smithsonian information, call (202) 633-1000.

Media only

Allison Peck   

(202) 633-0447; 
pressasia@si.edu

Miranda Gale 

(202) 633-0271;
galem@si.edu    

Media website
asia.si.edu/press
asia.si.edu/shiota

#perspectives

Public installation: Aug. 18–21

Media luncheon: Thursday, Aug. 21; 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.; email pressAsia@si.edu to RSVP

Related photos: 

Chiharu Shiota: Installation

Photo credit: Sunhi Mang

Installation view of Dialogue From DNA at Manggha, Centre of Japanese Art and Technology, Krakow, Poland by Chiharu Shiota; 2004; 

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