Goff + Rosenthal gallery is pleased to present an installation of new work entitled, Waiting, by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota. This is her first solo exhibition in the United States.

Born in 1972 in Osaka, Japan, Shiota graduated from Kyoto Seika University before spending time in Australia and then settling in Germany where she studied under Marina Abramovic at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste and Rebecca Horn at the Universität der Künste, Berlin. Beginning her career as a painter, Shiota works today mainly in installation and performance art. Using a finely honed artistic vocabulary, Shiota integrates a diverse range of influences ranging from the sophistication of Japanese textile processing, the expressiveness of Far Eastern calligraphy, Eva Hesse’s woven nets of string, Sol LeWitt’s structures and wall drawings, Christo’s wrappings, Janine Antoni’s performances and Ana Mendieta’s body-related works into a wholly personal and visually intense experience. Through ritualistic and obsessive contemplation, Shiota’s work attempts to arrest time and to meld reality with the subconscious.

For this exhibition, Chiharu binds the gallery in a tangle of burnt chairs and black wool thread creating a space of palpable tension and suspension, both physical and psychological. Shiota literally spins her worldview into an amalgamation of transcultural experiences where her feeling of troubled homelessness intertwines with a strong sense of integration with the situation around her. Shiota has a deep awareness that where she belongs is sometimes clearer in memory and by binding the gallery into a tangled snare of recollection she weaves a net of safety, security, love and home that is deeply personal. This sense of security is fleeting however and one discovers that the installation is embedded with the nightmarish sense that it is at once fleeting, impenetrable, imprisoning and misleading.

It seems to me that there is no way back, no matter where I go…The threads are interwoven into each other. Get entangled. Torn apart. And disentangle themselves. [1]

Referencing an incident in her childhood where a neighbor’s home burned to the ground, Shiota uses the burnt chairs to explore how an object becomes stronger and more beautiful through its loss of function; through its apparent death. Within this violent impact of destruction lies a poetic and tranquil awareness of how the past informs the present, where the invisible does not necessarily mean absence, and where we are led into the inevitable future. It is here that the relationship between one’s self and the outside world, loneliness and frustration, death and life reside and where we, alongside Shiota, all remain waiting.

Shiota’s work was included in several important exhibitions in the past eighteen months including, Tokyo-Berlin/Berlin-Tokyo at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, Fiction for the Real at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Body at the Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum for Contemporary Art in Kagawa, Japan and Asian Waves at the ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany. This coming summer Shiota will have a solo exhibition of her work at The National Museum of Art in Osaka, Japan with an accompanying full hardcover catalogue. Shiota is the recipient of several important awards and her work is included in numerous public and private international collections including those of the Sammlung Hoffman Berlin and the Museum für Neue Kunst Freiburg, Germany. She has also exhibited in group exhibitions at P.S.1/MoMA Contemporary Art Center, the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, the Queens Museum of Art and many others. Shiota lives in Berlin.

Chiharu Shiota’s ‘Waiting’ is at  Goff + Rosenthal from February 1 – March 10, 2008.