Chiharu Shiota, installation artist from Osaka, Japan. Photography © Sunhi Mang

1.Tell us what you do and your beginnings.

In the beginning, I was a painter. But when I was studying at the art school in Japan, I felt that the canvas has limits. I felt limited in painting and in the two-dimensional canvas. I couldn’t continue my creation as an artist. I started to make installations and worked with many different materials.

2.What are your favorite museums in the world? Why?

I very much like the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. From the outside it looks like a private house, but when you go into the museum it is huge and the location is next to the ocean with a beautiful park. I like their program and their architecture.

But of course, MoMA in New York redesigned by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi is also wonderful. I like his architecture. It is very simple and calm. The architecture does not speak a lot, so the art piece can speak.

3.How important are social networks in your business? And which platform do you prefer and why.

I just finished a Zoom meeting before this interview and since covid-19, I cannot travel to many countries for meetings or to set-up my work, so, I am using Zoom for meetings and I announce my shows on Facebook and even have conversations by Facebook messenger, it is very useful at this moment. I cannot imagine surviving without this network, it would be impossible to have international shows.

4.What are your future projects? 

I will have various projects in Spain, Vietnam, Japan, London and New Zealand this year. But they have not officially announced these shows yet.

I had to postpone 10 exhibitions to next year, so, next year is going to be very busy, but it is a very difficult time, and it is difficult to make a schedule.

5.To create greater engagement among museums, artists and professionals, do you have any advice for cultural projects such as #MuseumWeek?

I think, since it is difficult to travel at the moment. Museums and organizers should make shows with local artist. There are so many artists living in Berlin, but they exhibit internationally. It may be good to organize with more local artists.

That would also show the character of a city more. You usually always see the same artists all over the world, but because artists can’t travel anymore, and can’t plan, it would be good to invite more local artists.

Interview by Fabio Pariante, journalist


Chiharu Shiota on social networks: Instagram − Facebook

Chiharu Shiota (Osaka, 1972) is a Japanese artist who creates spectacular scenographies with wool and cotton threads, in which architectures and objects lose their functionality, taking on a sentimental and symbolic value. Each installation is a trace, a memory that no longer exists.

For the 2015 Venice Biennale, the artist created “The Key in the hand”, consisting of 50,000 keys donated by people from all over the world, intertwined in a network of red thread and trapped two wooden boats. The installation invites the user to reflect on the importance of memories because the keys protect the most important memories of each person.

For her works, Shiota finds inspiration in the Japanese tradition of calligraphy and in the teachings of Marina Abramović, of whom she was a student and learned the meaning of art as a meditation in which memory, identity, birth and death are the most important themes of her artistic production.

“Push the Limits” is the title of the next exhibition that the artist will inaugurate on 7 September at the Merz Foundation in Turin, Italy. Chiharu Shiota lives and works in Berlin.