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An otherworldly, two-story artwork is taking over Te Papa this December

The Key in the Hand, 2015. Installation old keys, old wooden boats, red wool. Japan Pavilion, 56th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy. Photo by Sunhi Mang.

An otherworldly, two-story artwork is taking over Te Papa this December

An otherworldly, two-story artwork is taking over Te Papa this December

Te Papa will be welcoming award-winning Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota this summer, as she unveils an otherworldly, two-story high artwork, The Web of Time.

Stretching across two levels in the museum’s Toi Art section, the fully-immersive artwork is made up of 3,750 balls of black wool, with 1,000 numbers woven in the thread, made to look as if they are suspended in space.

Uncertain Journey, 2019. Installation metal frame, red wool. Installation view Shiota Chiharu The Soul Trembles, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2019. Photo – Sunhi Mang. Courtesy of the Mori Art Museum

Visitors will be able to marvel at the spectacular artwork as they wander through a winding labyrinth of thread and witness the ‘drawings in space’ up close.

The work plays upon the belief of numbers as a universal language and their ability to define and connect people.

It’s the first time Shiota’s work will be exhibited in New Zealand and Te Papa’s Head of Art Charlotte Davy says the museum is thrilled to give New Zealanders the opportunity to experience her visionary work.

In Silence, 2019. Installation burnt piano, burnt chair, Alcantara black thread. Installation view Shiota Chiharu The Soul Trembles, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2019. Photo by Sunhi Mang. 

“[She] is a world-class artist known for transforming spaces with her wondrous, thought-provoking installations,” says Davy.

Born in Osaka, Japan and based in Berlin, Shiota’s grand art installations have exhibited around the world and she explores concepts of memory and consciousness by collecting ordinary objects and engulfing them in grand thread structures.

Chiharu Shiota: The Web of Time opens at Te Papa’s Toi Art on 12 December 2020 and will run until late 2021.

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