Our first afternoon in Tokyo, Japan, we took a shuttle bus from the Harumi Passenger Ship Terminal south of the Ginza district to the western district of Roppongi Hills. Our afternoon was spent shopping, having lunch and then exploring the Mori Art Museum and walking around the exterior of the museum on the 52nd floor of the Mori Tower to take in the “Tokyo City View” from the windows around the circular Mori Art Museum that occupies the interior spaces of the 52nd floor. The Mori Art Museum is a contemporary art museum founded by the real estate developer Minoru Mori in the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower in the Roppongi Hills complex both of which he built in Tokyo. The contemporary art museum primarily displays Asian artists, and, instead of a permanent exhibit, showcases a constantly changing lineup of exhibitions, research projects, public programs, and more. It is regarded as one of Tokyo’s not-so-hidden gems and the cultural jewel of the upscale Roppongi Hills development.
In the Hand by Shiota Chiharu: An evanescent, fragile-looking object is protected in the palms of a child’s hands. Through her thread installations covering entire galleries, Shiota renders visible the invisible presences concealed within spaces, but this abstract motif, captured neatly between the palms, seems to represent the inherent life of her body, or spirit. It also calls to mind the “trembling soul,” the exhibition’s subtitle. — www.mori.art.museum/en/exhibitions/shiotachiharu/
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION: Berlin-based international artist Shiota Chiharu is known for performances and installations that express the intangible: memories, anxiety, dreams, silence and more. Often arising out of personal experience, her works have enthralled people all over the world and from all walks of life by questioning universal concepts such as identity, boundaries, and existence. Particularly well-known is her series of powerful installations consisting of threads primarily in red and black strung across entire spaces. This will be the largest-ever solo exhibition by Shiota Chiharu. The subtitle “The Soul Trembles” references the artist’s earnest hope to deliver to others soul-trembling experiences derived from nameless emotions. This will be the first opportunity to experience in detail twenty-five years of Shiota’s oeuvre; primarily in large installations, plus sculptural works, video footage of performances, photographs, drawings, performing arts-related material, etc. Through this exhibition epitomizing the “presence in absence” that Shiota has explored throughout her career, visitors will doubtless gain a sense for themselves of the meaning of living and journey of life, and the inner workings of the soul. — www.mori.art.museum/en/exhibitions/shiotachiharu/
Uncertain Journey by Shiota Chiharu: The first installation encountered upon entering the galleries, Uncertain Journey consists of the bare frames of boats arranged in a space covered in bright red threads. In her work for the Japanese Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale, Shiota hung a mass of keys from the top of an old traditional Venetian boat, but in Uncertain Journey, the boats are more abstract, and the space filled with red thread seems to suggest the many encounters awaiting at the end of this uncertain journey. — www.mori.art.museum/en/exhibitions/shiotachiharu/
ABOUT THE ARTIST: Born 1972 in Osaka Prefecture, currently based in Berlin. In 2008, Shiota Chiharu received the Art Encouragement Prize from the Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. In addition to solo exhibitions held across the world including Art Gallery of South Australia (2018), Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2018), Smithsonian Institution Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (2014), the Museum of Art, Kochi (2013), MIMOCA Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art (2012), and the National Museum of Art, Osaka (2008), she has participated in numerous international exhibitions such as the Biennale of Sydney (2016), the Kiev Biennale (2012), and the Yokohama Triennale (2001). In 2015, she represented Japan at the 56th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition. — www.mori.art.museum/en/exhibitions/shiotachiharu/
FROM THE ARTIST: “I have always been creating works out of my passion and love for exhibitions, and it was the only thing that I could live for. Helpless conflicts of minds, uncommunicable emotions and my inexplicable existence; these feelings give all my works form and shape. The year before last, I was diagnosed with cancer again after twelve years, but it struck me that perhaps the painful treatment along with the confrontation with death is a tribulation to create honest works. This exhibition will present works from the past twenty-five years. It is a dialogue with my unveiled, naked soul.” – Shiota Chiharu, www.mori.art.museum/en/exhibitions/shiotachiharu/
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