Closing soon: Me Somewhere Else, an exhibition of new works by Chiharu Shiota.
The artist’s first exhibition at the London gallery, Me Somewhere Else includes one of Shiota’s site-specific installations, sculpture and works on canvas. Based in Berlin, Shiota (b. 1972, Osaka, Japan) is best known for her immersive installations, such as The Key in the Hand, with which she represented Japan at the Venice Biennale in 2015. Using thread to ‘draw’ in three dimensions, she weaves intricate networks of yarn into and across spaces.
Personal experiences are the starting points for her works, which explore the relationships between the body, memory, life and death. The titular installation Me Somewhere Else continues Shiota’s exploration of thread as a medium but here she utilises the material in a markedly different way, using her fingers to knot red yarn into a vast net. Suspended from the gallery ceiling, the net is a billowing mass which rises from a pair of feet that rest on the floor below. Cast from the artist’s own feet, their solidity and permanence contrast with the usually ephemeral nature of her installations. The colour of blood, the red yarn is laden with symbolism, for the artist, it alludes to our connectedness to each other, the interior of the body and the complex network of neural connections in the brain. Complex questions arise around the relationship between the body and the mind; neurons firing and causing the body to react before a conscious decision been taken has implications for cognisance.
With Me Somewhere Else, Shiota seeks to examine the idea that human consciousness could exist independently of the body, somewhere beyond – somewhere else. ‘I feel that my body is connected to the universe but is my consciousness as well? When my feet touch the earth, I feel connected to the world, to the universe that is spread like a net of human connections, but if I don’t feel my body anymore where do I go? Where do I go when my body is gone? When my feet do not touch the ground anymore.’
Until 19 January 2019. 4 Hanover Square, London W1S 1BP