Chiharu Shiota

Black Rain

On the eve of Art Brussels, artist Chiharu Shiota will be presenting a new installation, Black Rain, at Galerie Templon in Brussels. This immersive work with its spectacular setting of black umbrellas was created as a reaction to drastic experiences in the artist’s life.

Exhibition view, Black Rain, TEMPLON Brussels, 2019
Exhibition view, Black Rain, TEMPLON Brussels, 2019

The artist explains: “A storm appears on the horizon, the clouds grow darker and darker. This is not a light drizzle, cleaning the air giving life to earth, this is a natural catastrophe, threatening my existence. The black sky absorbs all light, all life. Underneath the umbrella, the sound of the rain grows louder and louder. It is deafening. The rain has turned black, my emotions have become dull, my existence is uncertain. With my installation Black Rain I want to express this dark time in my life, the storm that I have endured.

Fourteen years ago I suffered from cancer. Since then I have been working constantly, creating new installations and traveling to exhibitions, I have been so occupied with life that I sometimes forget that life is limited. However life and death are much more closely connected than we believe. I cannot escape death, but I realise that my strength in life is reached by the confrontation of death. To be alive means to endure suffering, it is part of our existence. This is our story. I transformed suffering to create something new and hopeful.”

A forest of suspended umbrellas, Black Rain shrouds visitors under a dark mantle, both menacing and reassuring, disturbing and dreamlike. As a counterpoint, Chiharu Shiota is presenting a new collection of sculptures and paintings in unexpected materials: gilt bronze, blood-red glass, red and white thread. Hands stretch out and encircle, the woven threads allude to skin and breath. Life is lived fuller; energy spreads across the space.

In the hand


The artist

Born in 1972 in the Japanese city of Osaka, Chiharu Shiota has been living and working in Berlin since 1997. Using woven yarn, the artist combines performance, body art and installations in a process that places at its center the body. Her protean artistic approach plays with the notions of temporality, movement and dreams, and demands a dual engagement from the viewer, both physical and emotional. In recent years, Chiharu Shiota has been widely exhibited around the world, including at the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2003), the New Museum of Jakarta and the SCAD Museum of Art, USA (2017), the K21 Kunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf (2014), the Smithsonian, Washington DC (2014) and Japan’s Kochi Museum of Art (2013). In 2015 Chiharu Shiota represented Japan at the Venice Biennale with her installation The Key in the Hand. In 2018, she is exhibiting at the Museum of Kyoto; and in 2019 she exhibited at Mori Art Museum in Tokyo throught a exhibition illuminating the artist's entire works.

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