Japan’s contribution to the 56th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia is an exhibition by artist Chiharu Shiota entitled The Key in the Hand. Curated by Hitoshi Nakano, the Berlin-based Chiharu Shiota created a large-scale installation with the whole exhibition space filled with red yam. Attached to the end of each piece of yam, suspended from the ceiling, is a key. There are also two boats on the floor beneath the yam and the hanging keys.
Curator Hitoshi Nakano explains: “In our daily lives, keys protect valuable things like our houses, assets, and personal safety, and we use them while embracing them in the warmth of our hands. By coming into contact with people’s warmth on a daily basis, the keys accumulate countless, multilayered memories that dwell within us. Then at a certain point we entrust the keys, packed with memories, to others who we trust to look after the things that are important to us. In this work, Shiota will incorporate keys as a medium that conveys our true feelings. Moreover, she will place two boats in the center of the yarn and the keys, suspended from the ceiling to the floor of the space. The boats symbolize two hands catching a rain of memories (i.e., countless keys) pouring down from the ceiling. While struggling and working with the hands, the two boats will move forward through a huge sea of memory as they collect individual memories.”
Chiharu Shiota: The Key in the Hand. Japan Pavilion at Venice Art Biennale 2015. Preview, May 7, 2015.
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