Chiharu Shiota

Memory Under the Skin
May 24 - July 22, 2023
Paris - Grenier Saint Lazare

Selected works
Press release -

Memory under the Skin by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota takes visitors on an enthralling journey exploring three spectacular site-specific installations and a series of new yarn sculptures.

After a foundation degree in painting at Seika University in Kyoto, Chiharu Shiota chose to pursue her artistic studies in Berlin, turning her focus to performance. Her practice soon shifted towards site-specific installations and the creation of vast ephemeral environments. She delicately weaves knotted threads to create fantastical scenes combining a variety of salvaged objects: window frames, worn musical instruments, cardboard suitcases, rusty keys, books and old used clothes. Her increasingly ambitious installations, to be found in museums worldwide, have become her signature; one by one they build a complex body of work that questions our notions of existence and transcendence.


With Memory under The Skin, Chiharu Shiota once again explores one of her favourite themes: clothing as “second skin”. She explains that clothes “can even be more important than skin because they offer the opportunity to express so much about each of us. They say more than a person’s skin colour, age or nationality. They are always with us in our daily life, becoming the personification of our memories, our existence. When we die, our existence is reflected by our clothes and the objects we surround ourselves with. Existence in absence: it is one of the themes of my work.”

In a contrasting approach, she also experiments with more permanent materials: “I wanted to recreate hands, my husband’s, my daughter’s and my own, in plaster then in bronze. I wanted to create something that will remain after I die. For me, the material is an extension of the body, like a memory under the skin.” Both intimate and aspiring to universality, this subtly figurative new work in bronze and metal thread embodies a wholly original approach to sculpture, as the receptacle for an uncertain world elsewhere.

Born in Osaka, Japan, in 1972, Chiharu Shiota has been living and working in Berlin for over two decades. Her work has featured in a wide range of solo exhibitions and is shown worldwide.

In 2015, she created an installation for the Japanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Her work has been shown extensively: in 2018 at the Museum of Kyoto (Japan), Gothenburg Museum of Art (Sweden), Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (Australia) and Le Bon Marché, Paris (France); in 2019 at the Gropius Bau, Berlin (Germany) and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (Japan); in 2020 at Fondazione Merz (Italy), Musia, Rome (Italy), and  Muzeum Śląskie w Katowicach (Poland); in 2021 at the 13th Gwangju Biennale Foundation in South Korea and the group exhibition STILL ALIVE, Werke aus der Shenkung Sammlung Hoffmann at Albertinum (Germany), Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Karsruhe (Germany), Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington (New Zealand), Towada Art Center, Aomori (Japan), Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire (France) and Tapei Fine Arts Museum (Taiwan).

In 2022, her work was exhibited at the Aichi Arts Center in Japan; Manifesta 14, Kosovo; Musée National des Arts Asiatiques-Guimet, Paris; Planta Project, Complejo industrial La Plana del Corb, Balaguer, Lleida, Spain; Schauwerk Sindelfingen, Germany; Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia; Bangkok Art Biennale in Thailand and K11 Museum in Hong Kong.

One of her installations is currently on view at the Hammer Museum at UCLA in Los Angeles, USA.

Chiharu Shiota has been represented by Galerie Templon since 2011.