Chiharu Shiota: when art catalyzes art
Floating and suspended in a dark void, in a network where the dead and the living come and go, the two sisters, protagonists of Matsukaze — the 3rd work by Toshio Hosokawa, whose debut was at La Monnaie in Brussels in 2011 — are a virtuous contemporary example of how art alone manages to express the human condition in all its totality, ephemeral complexity and beauty.
To intensify even more the expressiveness of the work, there is the scenography by the visual artist Chiharu Shiota who created a double wall of black wool similar to a canvas, an opaque and porous gauze that pierces the living and the dead, behind which the souls of the two sisters float and climb like angels and, at the same time, spiders.
Shiota is an international artist who lives in Berlin but was born in Japan. She is known for her performances and installations that express the intangible: anxiety, memory, dreams, silence. With her works, Shiota investigates and questions universal concepts, such as identity, borders, existence. In the case of Matsukaze, the intangible becomes expressed in a particular performative work, or directly on the stage of a theater where the souls trapped in the web of black thread wear white and red clothes.
These three colors, re-proposed in all the artist’s works, have a profound meaning: the layering of the black thread, similar to a pencil line, forms dark surfaces that invoke an endless space; then red, which represents blood, the innards of the body and human relationships; then white, with a sacred value in Japan, which is a pure color that can mark a new beginning, but also the end of life.
Whether it is life or death, light or darkness, Shiota in her creations takes advantage of all the potential of Art that proves to be, to date, the best and necessary language to express contemporaneity in most effective way possible thanks to the creation of something irresistibly beautiful. This is because art encompasses, catalyses, takes what surrounds it and returns to the world unique, original and unsettling.
It has gone to an even higher level of contamination, with the bursting of technology, of disintermediation, contamination of languages, guided from the explosion of conversations and an inexorable approach between artists, authors, cultural institutions and their reference audiences. Art is a catalyst of itself: it invokes and calls to itself other transversal complementary forms. It overcomes the univocal language to be able to reach all, to break into the system and build new ways of thinking.