Chiharu Shiota

Chiharu Shiota, “Traces of Memory”, 2013 Installation at the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh

When Shiota visited the Mattress Factory in 2011, she was inspired by the old Victorian rowhouse at 516 Sampsonia and curious about the previous inhabitants and their lives. “I work always with someone’s memory because it is strong and it exists but I cannot touch the memory,” says Shiota about her work in an interview with Felice and Shannon of the Mattress Factory Education Department.

She describes her use of black yarn as a 3D drawing material that she weaves through the air to create space, and sees the act of weaving the yarn in these spaces as a way to give form to memory and create a new world. For Shiota, the yarn gives form to unsent feelings, memories, and history. Once the installation is cut down, the memory of the installation is what remains.

Human relationships are complex, and she describes the yarn as analogous to human connections:   “The string makes tension or is tangled or is loose. The string is like feeling or relationship to people, and the relationship is connected, or loose or tight. I feel like this is just like a mirror of my feelings.”

Note: Chiharu Shiota is one of my favorite sculptors/installers. There are three more posts on this blog of other installations.

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