'Memory of Books' - Chiharu Shiota -Venice Biennale, 2011
Site-specific installation by Chiharu Shiota - The Gervasuti Foundation, Castello, Venice June 2- September 15th, 2011
curated by James Putnam
Shiota created an evocative installation by suspending countless strands
of wool from the walls, floor and ceiling of the space, a former artisan's workshop. This giant web through which visitors must find their way, envelops the hundreds of books Shiota found stored there as part of the Foundation's library. It criss-crosses the space forming a visible network
that connects a simple reading table and chair, arrangements of books and loose pages together with the surrounding room.
Shiota's work typically relates to memory and the interwoven threads are symbolic of human relationships with the place and found objects.
It is as if the complex web of thread is transmitting the aura radiated by the books or the individuals that once read them.
Memory is essentially the retention of accumulated knowledge in this case symbolized by the books, the information they contain and the lives of their past readers.
'Memory of Books' coincided with 'The Knowledge' another exhibition at the Gervasuti Foundation and the launch of Shiota's new monograph with texts by Mami Kataoka and James Putnam published by Hatje Cantz, Berlin.
Chiharu Shiota was born in Osaka in 1972, moved from Japan to Germany in 1996 to study under performance artist Marina Abramovic and installation artist Rebecca Horn. Besides being a performance artist, she is best known for creating room-filling, monumental, yet delicate, poetic environments of black thread and found objects. Central to the artist's work are the themes of rememberence and oblivion, dreaming and sleeping, traces of the past and childhood, and dealing with anxieties.
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