Home NewsroomArt & Design Chiharu Shiota’s New fantasy Installation Art “Multiple Realities” is Staged at Cisternerne in Denmark Now

Chiharu Shiota’s New fantasy Installation Art “Multiple Realities” is Staged at Cisternerne in Denmark Now

by Amélie Poulain
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Chiharu Shiota, a Japanese modern artist, will present a special exhibition “Multiple Realities” at the underground museum “Cisternerne” in Copenhagen from March 13th to November 30th. Using the space uniqueness of the dark and damp and water elements, with the yarn, mirrors, and swirling dresses, the multiverse of the blurred and dreamy is constructed.


Chiharu Shiota’s red thread creation works are based on the idea of the key, which is connected to the human body and blood, and also symbolizes the fate of the connection between people. (Photo via Merxwire)

Taipei, TAIWAN (Merxwire) – Japanese modern artist, Chiharu Shiota, known for her spectacular web-like works woven with intricate threads, is now on display at the famous underground museum “Cisternerne” in Copenhagen. Cisternerne is an underground exhibition hall converted from an old cistern. The faint sound of water flowing inside and the long one-piece dress, yarn and metal installation artworks arranged by Chiharu Shiota constitute a fantastic underground labyrinth. The theme of this exhibition is “Multiple Realities”, and the exhibition period is from March 13 to November 30, 2022.

“Cisternerne” is an underground art space in Copenhagen, Denmark, affiliated with The Frederiksberg Museums. The exhibition space was originally an underground cistern, which has been responsible for supplying drinking water to Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, since 1856. In 1933, the use of the reservoir was restricted due to urban renewal planning. After it was officially deactivated in 1981, it was listed as one of the Danish cultural sites. From 2001 to 2013, Max Seidenfaden, a Danish art collector, teamed up with the Friedrichsberg Museum to convert a disused reservoir into an underground museum of modern art. Every year, they will hold a world-class installation art exhibition in Cisternerne, inviting artists or architects from different countries to create here, allowing people to experience and explore different art cultures.

Chiharu Shiota visited Cisternerne three years ago and was impressed by the sound of water running in contrast to the quiet underground museum. Therefore, she hopes to create an underground labyrinth in the museum, combining reality and fantasy, weaving a miracle world with yarn. Visitors enter from the museum entrance in the middle of Søndermarken Park and descend the stairs as if entering a completely different world. The dimly lit dark colonnade, the wet floor, and the white yarn that imprisoned the famous white dress make for a spectacular picture. Along the passage, the moving picture of red metal sculptures is reflected in mirrors and underground water, and red and white nylon dresses suspended from the ceiling swirl in the air and dance in the splashing water.

“Cisternerne” is an underground exhibition hall converted from an old cistern. The faint sound of water and Chiharu Shiota’s long one-piece dress, yarn and metal installation artworks form a fantastic underground labyrinth. (Screenshot via Cisternerne)

Chiharu Shiota perfectly utilizes the uniqueness of the underground museum’s dark, damp and mysterious water flow to create a blurred and dreamy scene in the abandoned pond with the misty yarns, mirrors, and swirling dresses. When the visitor enters the exhibition, it seems to be connected to the artist’s unrestricted multiverse.

Chiharu Shiota was born in Kishiwada, Osaka, Japan in 1972, a city famous for its textile industry. At the age of 12, she decided to pursue a creative life. In 1991 she was Inspired by Polish fiber artist Marta Magdalena Abakanowicz-Kosmowska and determined to escape the factory culture she grew up in and study in the West. From 1992 to 1996, she studied at the School of Arts at Kyoto Seika University, majoring in oil painting. In 1994, she obtained the status of an exchange student and went to the School of Art at the University of Canberra, Australia. During her studies in Australia, she abandoned her paintbrush and started to create installation performance art.

She entered Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg, Germany in 1996. From 1997 to 1998, she was under the tutelage of Marta Magdalena and studied with Rebecca Horn. Since then, she has settled and studied in Germany and started her exhibition life. At that time, Berlin presented an air of unrestrained freedom after the fall of the wall, but at the same time, it had a deep historical imprint, which gave Shiota a lot of creative inspiration. Her stay in Germany also allowed her to gradually break away from the creative culture of Japanese men and women, no longer ashamed of the creator because she was a woman.

Chiharu Shiota began to create installation art while studying in Australia. (Screenshot via Cisternerne)

In 2001, at the 1st Yokohama Triennale, 5 pieces of 13-meter-long dresses and woolen installations made a big splash. In 2008, he received the Art Encouragement Award from the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan. In 2012, participated in the Kyiv Biennale. In 2015, she was selected as the representative artist of Japan at the Venice Biennale, and hung 50,000 old keys from all over the world with a 400-kilometer-long red thread, creating a visually stunning rain of red keys. In 2016, participated in the Sydney Biennale. In 2019, “The Soul Trembles” was held at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan. This exhibition was called Shiota’s closest exhibition to death because Chiharu Shiota received the news of cancer recurrence after she got the invitation from the Mori Art Museum for her solo exhibition the next day. During the 130-day exhibition period, there were an average of more than 5,000 visitors a day, and the total number of visitors exceeded 660,000. It was the most visited exhibition by Mori Art Museum since its opening in 2003. By 2021, Chiharu Shiota has participated in more than 300 exhibitions and performances across Japan and the world.

Chiharu Shiota, known as the Weaver of Sadness and Dreams, uses black, red, and white weave threads to make visitors seem to be walking into an illusory world like a dream. Her works explore themes such as dreams, life and death, and memory, always with a touch of sadness. When she was 9 years old, she was left with inexplicable fear because of the late-night fire in her neighbor’s house. In her memory, there was always the piano in her neighbor’s house that could no longer be played after it was burned down, and the sound of the piano that could not be erased. “Existence but nothing” has become one of the themes of Shiota’s exploration. After undergoing surgery and chemotherapy for her second ovarian cancer, she had closer contact with the disease and life and death. The panic, anxiety, and loneliness were all over her red line, and she was also featured in the “The Soul Trembles” exhibition. There is more exploration of life and death.

In Shiota’s memory, there was always the piano in her neighbor’s house that could no longer be played after it was burned down. (Photo via Merxwire)

Shiota’s works use a lot of braided wires, and in the earliest days, they were mainly made of cold black wool, just like the lines used for the base when learning to paint. After the Venice Biennale in 2015 “The Key in the Hand”, turned into a bright red, the red line symbolizing blood, fate, and the relationship between people. In recent years, Shiota’s work has shifted to a lighter white, a color that symbolizes purity and new beginnings, but also represents the end of life in Japanese tradition. From birth to death, experiencing all possibilities, returning from the initial purity to the final blank.

Shiota’s works do not have too many textual explanations. Instead, she uses daily objects, such as luggage, keys, and shoes, to connect herself and the audience, and try to dialogue with the audience’s memory. The red thread is used to tie everyone’s memory together, hoping that viewers can walk into her works and touch their heartstrings. Every time the exhibition ends, all the threads must be cut off, and every new exhibition venue must be rearranged according to the on-site space. Her works will never be the same, just as life will always have similarities and differences.

In 2021, Chiharu Shiota’s special exhibition “The Soul Trembles” was exhibited in Taiwan, and it aroused quite enthusiastic responses. Originally, Taipei was the last stop of the overseas exhibition tour, but unexpectedly it became the first overseas exhibition site due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Even if the exhibition is closed due to the outbreak of the epidemic in Taiwan during the exhibition. After the reopening, many people were unable to visit the exhibition due to the limited number of people, but it is undeniable that in the chaotic era, “art” does have the effect of soothing and healing people’s minds. Being able to get close to her works, shocked and moved in the season of epidemic shock, satisfied the spiritual feelings of many people.

At a time when the world is deeply entangled by viruses and death, Chiharu Shiota replaces travel with the creation and travels across Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand, and other countries. She use the red threads into a red light beam at the Tokyo Olympics, connecting performers, athletes, and audiences participating in the event. And now her artwork is in Copenhagen, Denmark. In the ancient underground museum “Cisternerne”, she makes full use of the vibrant water elements combined with her installation artworks, showing vitality and self-expression in a silent space, and implementing the beauty of silence in the Japanese spirit. Using 160 kilometers of yarn, weaving from the ceiling to create a space that looks like a labyrinth.

After experiencing life, death, and illness, Chiharu Shiota regards art as a belief and wields infinite creativity and powerful emotions hidden in her heart. She hopes that the audience can find resonance in a certain work or understand the profound meaning behind it and won’t only be lost in the fantasy, but can grasp something from the center. She will be very grateful.

In the old buildings underground in Copenhagen, chiharu shiota’s art solo exhibition has been quietly launched, using the dynamic water element to combine with her installation art works. (Screenshot via Cisternerne)

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