CHIHARU SHIOTA / Inner Universe

CHIHARU SHIOTA / Inner Universe

Templon, Paris – Grenier Saint Lazare

MAY 30 – JULY 25, 2020

This summer, Galerie Templon will be filled with the spectacular woven work of Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota. One onsite installation and a series of new sculptures explore the “Inner Universe” that some may see as the mind, others as consciousness, and which transcends the body, connecting beings to each other.

Chiharu Shiota – State of Being (Anatomy Book)
Courtesy of Galerie Templon.

Famous for her monumental site-specific installations and skilful weaving of thread that spreads through space, Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota has spent years questioning the notion of surface and the traditional boundaries of painting. With Inner Universe, she invites us on a poetic journey examining the secret ties between the finiteness of existence and eternity.

Chiharu Shiota – In the Hand
2020; BRONZE AND METAL WIRE; 13,5 X 21,5 X 29,5 CM

Courtesy of Galerie Templon.

Inner Universe opens with a series of her signature sculptures of red, white and black threads. The mysterious boxes deconstruct our conception of the body: levitating clothes, anatomy books, personal belongings. As if crystallized in these tight weavings, they bear witness to everyday life while raising universal, metaphysical questions. As the artist explains: “the thread separates us from this physical presence within the object, but at the same time, this structure allows me to create a new space. Piling up layer after layer of cut, tangled and knotted thread creates the entirety of the universe bound to this frame.”

Chiharu Shiota – In the Hand
2020; BRONZE AND METAL WIRE – Courtesy of Galerie Templon.

This palpable detachment from earthly life is countered by a new set of sculptures made of imperishable materials. Blown-glass Cells suggest almost abstract forms of cells and organs bursting with life, while the In the Hand bronzes, moulds of her own hands, seem to bring the material alive. On the walls, her woven Skin canvases cover the space with skin that is both microscopic and cosmic.

Chiharu Shiota – Cell
2020; MIXED MEDIA; 36 X 36 X 36 CM – Courtesy of Galerie Templon

In the main room, some bronze sculptures representing parts of the artist family’s bodies are placed on the floor. “I want to scatter pieces of my relative’s body on the ground; their absence is thus embodied, and each of these parts evokes much more than an entire body could ever do.” Chiharu Shiota thus seeks to give us a glimpse of the complex relationships between beings and the potentially eternal interdependence of consciousnesses.

Chiharu Shiota – Cell
2020; MIXED MEDIA; 20 X 30 X 23 CM – Courtesy of Galerie Templon

Born in Osaka, Japan, in 1972, Chiharu Shiota has been living and working in Berlin since 1999. After a degree in painting at Seika university in Kyoto, Chiharu Shiota turned to performance and pursued her artistic studies in Berlin. Chiharu Shiota is an internationally renowned artist whose work has been exhibited for twenty years. She represented Japan at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Her work has been the subject of numerous museum solo exhibitions including: in 2017, Infinity Lines, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia (USA), Under the Skin, Kunsthalle Rostock, Rostock (Germany) and Direction, KODE-Art Museums of Bergen, Bergen (Norway); in 2018, The Butterfly Dream, Museum of Kyoto (Japan), The Distance, Gothenburg Museum of Art, Gothenburg (Sweden), Embodied, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (Australia) and Where are we going?, Le Bon Marché, Paris (France), and in 2019, Beyond Memory, Gropius Bau, Berlin (Germany) and The Soul Trembles, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (Japan).



WALES IN VENICE / Venice Biennale Special

The point of view of the Aesthetic critic PAOLO MENEGHETTI

In the Welsh exhibition visitors can find the installations of artist Sean Edwards. Aesthetically, he is interested in sculpting the everyday life, in order to connect it to the biographic. The installations have a very domestic “nuance”. We will recognize the “Gothic rainforest” of a tent, the tapestry, the screen intended for playing etc… In the ordinary life, the perception of a rest or however of the mechanization maybe distracts us from our living for the “reasons” of a personalization. All men would feel happy, and often it’s better for us to confide in our own diary. In Venice, Sean Edwards exhibits installations to the uncertainty of sharing. We perceive those “digging up” the ordinary life, and its announced importance into the expectations of a “maturity”. More notably, it happens that the real artist identifies with personalized style, against the indeterminacy of massification. In Venice, the exhibition of Sean Edwards is called Undo things done. Perhaps, the monumentality of a memory that we will feel like ours will have to “be disconnected” into the objectivity of a report. Everyone has his own reasons for living; but it’s better for us if we demonstrate those to the Others.

Portrait of Sean Edwards. Courtesy Sean Edwards and Tanya Leighton, Berlin. Image Jamie Woodle
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley

He who sculpts lets the matter reach an arrangement, and while he configures it a little bit at a time. The abstraction of a messy block will become plastic, passing from itself to itself. The cinematographic image is in motion, although we perceive it in its refraining. The sculptor lets the matter have an arrangement while “re-entering” itself, through a plasticism. Director Tarkovsky wanted the images to show materially their refraining. We can say that his cinematography “sculpted” the time. Sean Edwards installs the cage of metal, however with a plasticism only refrained, through the frames in arch. In a bungalow, weather-beaten and disturbed, the reality of the personal memories (from a betting slip, to a badge of disability, from the obituary for a pool player to the design on the complimentary t-shirts, etc…) seems relying on the “understanding” of the visitors. They would have their gaze “connected in a boomerang”, trying to “browse” the diary where the artist will rest, in a very existentialist way. In addition, the arch-shaped frames are easily perceptible as film strips during playing time.

Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley

One video installation has the dominoes as its aesthetic theme. Symbolically, how much would we expect the odds to be of a specific combination? However to us, the artist seems stalled, if the tiles, instead of falling to display the result, are cradling in cycles of settlement. The video installation of Sean Edwards jumps between the clockwise and the anticlockwise. It is a zoom through which the objectivity of a chance“is sculpted”, also going against our expectations. A confirmation comes to us from a print, where the fingers of the artist suffered abuse, until they were bleeding. An anxiety that needs to be messily “vented” will not be pleasant… Sean Edwards sets up also a sort of “screen”, in metal, and completely pierced with the motif of the word < un >. Precisely, that is a quote from The Sun, a famous tabloid printed in England.

That, according to the artist, will assume a coloration that can be defined as dryly yellowish. Is that an attempt to “sculpt” also the solar radiation? In the English language, the prefix < un > has a negative connotation, to “cast a shadow” on every certainty. The screen is removable, and used not to allow somebody else to watch us undressing. Sean Edwards installs the heaviness of a metal “barrier”, that however has  “peepholes” morbidly revealing. Of course the English tabloid is read for its gossip. Maybe the memories of the artist are not afraid of being unveiled, because of their indeterminateness. In another installation, a quilt is adorned with the letters taken by the title of The Mirror, a famous newspaper in England.

Symbolically, could the rest while reading be covered a mantle of  sensationalism? Usually we appreciate newspapers that are very objective. It would be more correct to publish verified news! Sean Edwards mentions the quilts that traditionally were realized in Wales, with motifs influenced by objects at hand.

Portrait of Sean Edwards. Courtesy Sean Edwards and Tanya Leighton, Berlin. Image Jamie Woodley
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley
Installation of Undo Things Done, 2019, Sean Edwards, © Jamie Woodley

Hans Op De Beeck: The power of an irreversible harmony

Hans Op De Beeck: The power of an irreversible harmony

«Wabi» is the Japanese word used to identify the natural and delicate attention for simple and elusive things, for a beauty that is both evasive and elegant. It describes an incredibly poetic concept which suits perfectly the work of Belgian artist and polymath Hans Op de Beeck, an explorer of traditional artistic techniques such as watercolors, sculpture and photography, and versatile and multimedia or interactive expressive resources, from video installations to theater, including cinematography and screenplay writing.

Hans op De Beeck / Loss, Video Installation, 11′, 2004 © Studio Hans op De Beeck

Hans Op de Beeck forces us to pay attention to what changes imperceptibly but at the same time deeply, as it happens in Loss, a video installation made in 2004 which starts with a frame revealing the historic archetypal image of a window, through which we can see late 1800s architecture until it displays the bare coastal landscapes of Belgium just after the first world war. The vision is accompanied by constantly fading sounds, we can hear crickets chirping, a sweet melody interrupted by words, silence, disturbing squeaking and rustling, agitated flapping of wings, and frantic breathing, heavy steps and gusting violent wind. What dominates the atmosphere though is always the quiet which is particularly loved by the artist.

Hans Op de Beeck / Table (1), Sculptural Installation, 2006 © Studio Hans Op de Beeck

Also the theme of the vanitas and memento mori is a subject covered in his sculptures on several occasions and it is defined in a softened manner, tamed by the immobile silence of the abstraction, in what doesn’t seem to be a simulation but more of an invocation. The reality is what it appears to be but it is also something different, as in Table (1) (2006), where Hans plays with the proportions of the objects. And the fact that all these works are made with monochrome shades is not a coincidence since they bring back humans and objects to their authentic dimension; gray becomes magnetic and unreal space, although still physical, a place to go back to, a liminal space where time stops, letting us think or making us disappear seraphically.

Hans Op de Beeck / The Collector’s House, Sculptural Installation, 2016.© Studio Hans Op de Beeck

Hans Op de Beeck / (Still) Staging Silence (2) Video, 20’48”, 2013 © Studio Hans Op de Beeck

The installation Collector’s house (2016) is in this sense the most emblematic example of his research: the setting «is all in gray, as if we are looking at a Collector’s house after many years; it’s a bit like Pompeii, where everything turns into stone».  Seen through a collector’s eye, reality in all its aspects and objects becomes an interesting subject and the general sensation felt by who walks in this house is to be in a place that is «silent and serious». In Staging silence (2013), Hans is ironic and brilliant: in a video which is just over 20 minutes long he shows us, with his usual ruthless tenderness, the manipulation of places that look like thoughts. Four mysterious hands begin to build landscapes and environments: just by stretching out a clean film on a table it is possible to obtain a shimmering sea full of waves and reflections, and by turning bottles and plastic containers upside down, and the convenient use of light, an urban nightscape comes to life, made of solid skyscrapers which look over our subjectivity.

Hans Op de Beeck / “OUT OF THE ORDINARY” © Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Photo: Marek Kruszewski

His aesthetics are made of sweet fiction, farce, artifices, seen in a positive light as means to achieve infinite possibilities through a new vision of the ordinary. Everything is mounted and dismantled with calm ease, and the artist works like an experienced craftsman who complies to the desire and need for peace of mankind. In his works there’s a sensation of irreversible harmony, like in the sculptures of the Gestures series (2014).

Hans Op de Beeck / Gesture (soap bubble), Gestures, Series of 2 Sculptures, 2016 © Studio Hans Op de Beeck

The space is both a container and content itself, an emotional questioning place, gentle home for our mix of feelings and memories both experienced or just imagined. And the human being disappears, absorbed by its subconscious and by the atmospheres so indefinitely intimate, like those in The Garden Room, in Out of the Ordinary (2017), in Amusement Park (2015), or the animated watercolors in Night Time (2015).

Lorenza Zampa

All images > © Hans Op de Beeck / Studio Hans Op de Beeck




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