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Japanese artist Chiharu holds first gallery exhibition in Korea

Chiharu Shiota, a Japanese installation artist based in Berlin, is internationally known for her large-scale wozen works that reflect relationships with others.

"Between Us,” by Shiota Chiharu installed at Gana Art Center in Jongno-gu, central Seoul (Courtesy of the artist, Gana Art)

Gana Art, a major commercial art gallery in Korea, is hosting a solo exhibition of Japanese installation artist Chiharu Shiota -- widely known for giant installation works with entangled threads -- at its two branches, the Gana Art Center and Gana Art Nineone in Seoul.

The artist, who is based in Berlin, expresses her emotions about relationship with others by weaving wool yarns. Her large-scale web which is woven with red wool yarns fills the 150-square-meter exhibition hall at Gana Art in Jongno-gu, central Seoul. Stepping into the space, visitors experience emotional responses with the compelling work.

To Chiharu, her work with wool yarns is “like drawing in the air” and she likens a string as a “mirror of my feeling.” The numerous strings imply relationships with humans as well as her thoughts and emotions about her memories. 

The installation view of the exhibition “Between Us” at Gana Art Nineone in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul (Courtesy of the artist, Gana Art)
The installation view of the exhibition “Between Us” at Gana Art Nineone in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul (Courtesy of the artist, Gana Art)

The 48-year-old artist was internationally recognized with her installation, “The Key in the Hand,” in the Japanese Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015.

Titled “Between Us,” the exhibition by Gana Art unveiled on Thursday, showcase 41 artworks by the artist. While she is widely known for her woven installation masterpieces, the works at the exhibition include her drawings and sculptures.

Chiharu’s fear on death is also embedded in her works after fighting against cancer twice, according the gallery. Her work, “Skin,” with fine red threads spreading across a canvas, looks as if blood streams across a human’s body, struggling to maintain one’s life.

“Between Us” is her first exhibition held at a commercial art gallery in Korea after her successful solo exhibition, “Shiota Chilharu: The Seoul Trembles,” at the Busan Museum of Art that ran until April.

“Many of Chiharu’s thread works include vintage goods inside. For example, the keys hanging with a thread in her installation works are from old days in Europe,” Kim Min-kyung, senior manager at Gana Art Nineone, told The Korea Herald. “For the exhibition in Korea, we displayed used chairs that carry someone else’s memories here.”

The exhibition will run through Aug. 23 at Gana Art Center and Aug. 2 at Gana Art Nineone, respectively.

By Park Yuna (