Perspectives: Chiharu Shiota

Turn Your Keys Into Art

Chiharu Shiota is collecting keys for an installation titled The Key in the Hand, which she will present at the Venice Biennale in 2015. You can contribute by dropping old or unwanted keys in the bin near her current installation at the Sackler before December 12, 2014.

The following is a message from Shiota about this project:

I have been selected to show my work in the Japan Pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in Italy in 2015. It is a great honor for me to be given the opportunity to participate in the world’s oldest exhibition along with the curator Hitoshi Nakano, who organized a solo exhibition of my work in Kanagawa in 2007. Using the second-floor gallery and the pilotis on the first floor of the pavilion, I will present a new installation titled “The Key in the Hand,” consisting of two boats, red yarn, and a huge number of keys.

Keys are familiar and very valuable things that protect important people and spaces in our lives. They also inspire us to open the door to unknown worlds. With these thoughts in mind, in this new installation I would like to use keys provided by the general public that are imbued with various recollections and memories that have accumulated over a long period of daily use. As I create the work in the space, the memories of everyone who provides me with their keys will overlap with my own memories for the first time. These overlapping memories will in turn combine with those of the people from all over the world who come to see the biennale, giving them a chance to communicate in a new way and better understand each other’s feelings.

I would be extremely grateful if you would consider giving me a key that you no longer need so that I can use it as part of this work. Then I hope that everyone will be inspired by the work, containing an accumulation of memories from all over the world, to reconsider what it means to be alive.


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