Skip to main content

See also:

Japanese artist installs monumental work in Smithsonian's Sackler Aug. 18-21

Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota installs monumental work in Smithsonian's Sackler Aug. 18-21
Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota installs monumental work in Smithsonian's Sackler Aug. 18-21
"Over the Continents" by Chiharu Shiota at The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan, 2008. Photo by Sunhi Mang; courtesy of Kenji Taki Gallery

Watch Japanese performance and installation artist Chiharu Shiota recreate her "monumental yet intimate work" composed of 400 shoes and four miles of scarlet yarn in the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Aug. 18-21, before it opens to the public on Aug. 30.

In "Over the Continents", Shiota uses shoes she has collected with notes from each donor, and ties them with red yarn to a single point in the Sackler pavilion.

The dramatic, thought-provoking installation evokes lost individuals, past moments, and the international interconnection of all individuals, Shiota explains.

(Or as Herman Melville wrote, "Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.")

"Shiota creates deeply personal and poetic environments using the simplest of materials," said Carol Huh, assistant curator of contemporary art at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. "As visitors enter the Sackler, they are invited to consider the life of an object, even the most familiar one, and its power to stimulate the imagination and profound emotional reactions."

The exhibit is part of the museum's free "Perspectives" contemporary art series. "Perspectives: Chiharu Shiota" will be displayed at the Sackler through June 7.

Shiota, Japan's representative at the prestigious Venice Biennale in 2015, is best known for her large-scale yet intricate installations that explore the relationships between the human body, memory, and loss, the museum said.

Now based in Berlin, she is the first Japanese artist to be featured since the series began with Yayoi Kusama in 2003.

Prior "Perspectives" artists have included also China's phenomenon Ai Weiwei, India's Rina Banerjee, South Korea's Minouk Lim, Turkey's Hale Tenger, and Iran's Y.Z. Kami.

For more info: "Perspectives: Chiharu Shiota", "Over the Continents", Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. Free. The Smithsonian's Sackler and the adjacent Freer Gallery of Art, at Independence Avenue, S.W. and 12th Street, are on the National Mall. Both museums are at www.asia.si.edu, 202-633-1000.