Chiharu Shiota

During sleep, Japan, 2001

Chromogenic color print,
120X80 cm

Courtesy of the artist
Photograph: Sunhi Mang
Copyright: VG Bild-Kunst

Peter Fischer characterizes the work of Chiharu Shiota as a movement between extremes, as “on the one hand, in her installations she creates a world of her own, a world delineated as a spatial entity divorced from external reality […] and on the other, the installations are metaphors for the web of nightmares wherein she is ensnared. The network of cotton threads traps her in her sleep like a spider’s web in which she is hopelessly entangled, nervously woven into it, without an Ariadne’s thread to extricate her.” Fischer notes further that “the white metal beds evoke in the observers the oppressive sense experienced in hospital corridors,” a sensation further heightened by the absence of patients.

The contradictions in Shiota’s work combine yearnings for a safer world and the consciousness that it is precisely at the heart of the world that the nightmares and regrets are implanted (for discussion of the duality of yearnings and dread, vide the essays of Toni Morrison and Aviezer Ravitzky in the exhibition catalogue)

The divisions emerging from the performance art created by Shiota trap the spectator and raise questions on issues of exclusion and blocks, on situations we suppress and push away, but nevertheless remain there, in waiting.