Chiharu Shiota, Uncertain Journey, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Blain I Southern. Foto: Sunhi Mang. © Chiharu Shiota, c/o Pictoright Amsterdam, 2017

First Dutch solo exhibition Chiharu Shiota

May 15 2017

The Japanese artist, Chiharu Shiota (Osaka, 1972), was the sensation of the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. The Japanese pavilion with her installation, The Key in the Hand, was one of the top five exhibitions in The Guardian that year and it was also on the cover of The New York Times. Shiota’s first solo exhibition in the Netherlands offers a retrospective overview of her oeuvre. The installation, Uncertain Journey, made to measure for Het Noordbrabants Museum, is the highlight of the exhibition. Chiharu Shiota: Between the Lines has been made possible by the Renschdael Art Foundation and can be seen in Het Noordbrabants Museum in ’s-Hertogenbosch from 24th June to 15th October.

Director Charles de Mooij said, “Het Noordbrabants Museum introducing the internationally leading artist, Chiharu Shiota, to the Dutch museum visitor this summer matches our ambition to become a top museum outside of the Randstad.”

Astounding installation

Five metal boats are joined by red woollen threads in Uncertain Journey. According to the artist, each thread can be regarded as the life of every person that is interwoven with other lives. The preparation and the realisation of the installation is an impressive and time consuming process. Chiharu Shiota will work 12 days with 10 assistants on the gigantic web installation. The exhibition space of around 130 m² is first covered by a made to measure net. Then the thread of about 2,000 balls of wool is attached with approx. 10,000 staples. Worldwide, Chiharu Shiota installations affect visitors deeply because they express universal concepts such as identity and memory in such an astoundingly beautiful way.

Retrospective overview

Twenty-four works in total will be exhibited, dating from 1994 to 2017, including videos, photos, drawings, large and small sculptures made of thread and a bronze sculpture. Two works from the celebrated Venice Biennale will be shown by Het Noordbrabants Museum, the photo The Key in the Hand and the video How Did You Come into this World? The name of the exhibition, Between the Lines, was chosen by Shiota herself. It is a reference to her initial quest as an artist. “I want to expose my first years as a painter. At that time, I felt limited by a two-dimensional canvas and needed to expand my paintings, so I began drawing lines in the air which later became web installations as a means of drawing without limits.”

Over Chiharu Shiota

Chiharu Shiota began studying painting at the Seika University in Kyoto but she soon found herself struggling with the limitations of the art. She felt that it was merely colour on canvas without any further significance. She then began her search for other means of expression. The work, Becoming Painting, from 1994, which can also be seen in the exhibition, is the result of this investigation. It was the first time that she abandoned the canvas and performed. Her meeting with the performance artist Marina Abramović (Belgrado, 1946) was decisive. After 1996 Shiota continued her studies in Hamburg, Braunschweig and Berlin. Abramović was then a professor at the Hochschule für Bildende Kunst in Hamburg (1992-1996) and later at the Hochschule für Bildende Kunst in Braunschweig (1997). After the group exhibition Continental Shift in the Ludwig Forum in Aachen in 2000 and the Yokohama Triënnale in 2001, Shiota’s work was picked up internationally. Chiharu Shiota lives and works in Berlin. Besides her art, she is also a successful theatre and opera designer.


The exhibition catalogue, published in Dutch, German and English by WBOOKS, includes an essay by Hans November, curator of 20th and 21st century art at Het Noordbrabants Museum. The book is available in the Museum Shop for € 19.95.

In collaboration with

The exhibition Chiharu Shiota: Between the Lines has been made possible by the Renschdael Art Foundation. The collaboration between the Renschdael Art Foundation and Het Noordbrabants Museum has previously resulted in exhibitions of work from Lita Cabellut, Francis Bacon and Claire Morgan.