Looking at Chiharu Shiota’s work paradoxically offers an uncanny awareness of one’s bodily existence alongside the elusiveness of time. When entering Anna Schwartz Gallery, one is awe-struck by Shiota’s wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling installation State of Being, 2022. The work is comprised of elaborate webs of fine red rope and was carefully, yet vigorously assembled over three tireless days. To witness the outcome is remarkably moving. The entwined red threads both descend into and rise out from an abstract human figure positioned on the floor—evoking the concept of our intimate yet vast relationship with ephemerality and the universe.
State of Being is simultaneously held alongside The Soul Trembles at the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA). Both exhibitions showcase the Japan-born, Berlin-based artist’s dedication to honouring memories, dreams and understandings of mortality. However, State of Being at Anna Schwartz Gallery also includes smaller-scale sculptures and works on canvas and paper. Shiota’s sculptures are odes to found letters, diaries and photographs encased in intricate arrangements of thread. While Shiota has not included her own mementos in these sculptures—the act of their creation is intensely personal as she delves into the worlds of others. As Shiota explains, “I believe that we are all connected… all human connection is one.” View, in pictures, Shiota’s inimitable works at Anna Schwartz Gallery.