Master Project

Gülru Vadar

First House, Installation by Chiharu Shiota


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First House at Zorlu Performing Arts Center, Istanbul, Turkey,
curator: Gülru Vadar,
artist: Chiharu Shiota
Chiharu Shiota (1972) is a Japanese artist who lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Her first installation in Turkey, First House, is commissioned by Zorlu Performing Arts Center as a site specific installation to be exhibited for one year from September 8, 2014 on. Chiharu Shiota will represent Japan at the 56th Venice Biennale 2015 with a soloexhibition at the Japanese Pavilion. Her installations have been on display internationally in museums such as La Maison Rouge in Paris, France; Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Germany; Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, US; Museum of Art, Kochi, Japan since 2000. Swiss Curator Harald Szeemann selected her to participate in the First International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Seville/Spain in 2004. Her work is currently on display in Smithsonian Institution Arthur M.Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C.

First House is composed of a metal construction of 4m X 6m X 7m dimensions which is later woven by the artist with red wool yarn of approximately 150,000 meters. By weaving the threads, Chiharu Shiota alludes to the themes of memory, human beings and the desire to search out one`s self and place in society. Through the scale of her installation, Shiota invites the viewer to become part of her artwork. First House does not represent an imaginary or utopian reality but rather a shared activity; an encounter between the viewer and the artwork. In this encounter, meaning is elaborated collectively, rather than in the space of individual consumption. With each different visitor, the exhibition acquires a different narrative, reflecting the different personal journey of each individual. The installation puts forward the idea of the individuals` existential condition of “being there” and one`s spiritual voyage to the ultimate potential take place on the same plane. Shiota describes First House as the House of Self. By placing the viewer in the centre, she refers to the self and the attendant voyage of discovery that defines a person. Who are you? What will you become? How do you realise your best self? By the red colour of First House, Shiota, evokes life as referring to the blood running in our veins. The colour red symbolises new beginnings, sunrise, life forces and enlightenment in various Eastern doctrines and also in the Shamanic medicine wheel. With its colour, the installation does not only address the self and its development but also one`s birth and the conception of life. Everything from our earliest steps to our view of the emerging world is considered here. Ultimately, the installation speaks to the person we are becoming and will become, both internally and physically. It addresses our personality and presentation to the world – our essential qualities, approach to life, demeanours and basic sensibilities.