Chiharu Shiota: In search of a destination


Chiharu Shiota’s installation Accumulation: Searching for the Destination is made from approx. 430 oscillating suitcases, the work inspired by the discovery of old newspapers in a suitcase she found in Berlin. All things have their own, innate memories, and in this case, the suitcases suggest the memories, movement and migration of strangers; the very journeys of people’s lives. View the work in ‘Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles’ at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Brisbane until 3 October 2022.

RELATED: The Soul Trembles in Brisbane

Chiharu Shiota, Japan/Germany b.1972 / Installation view of Where to Go, What to Exist – Photographs 2010 in ‘Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles’, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane / Suitcase, photograph, thread, etc. / 40 x 50 x 43cm; 14 x 50 x 35cm (closed suitcase) / © Chiharu Shiota / Courtesy: Kenji Taki Gallery, Nagoya/Tokyo / Photograph: M Campbell © QAGOMA

Shiota recollects… I started collecting suitcases. I used to visit flea markets in Berlin and I came across an old suitcase with a very old newspaper from 1947 inside. I was fascinated by it and began collecting more. It is an inspiration of everyday movement and therefore individual life and thoughts. What is existence, what does it mean to be alive, what are our expectations or where are we trying to go? Each individual person carries only the necessary things when traveling…

People leave their hometowns with a destination in mind.

Living among people of different nationalities,

I suddenly forget that I am Japanese.

Looking at yourself reflected in a mirror,

you realize for the first time that you have black hair and black eyes.

The further you drift and the more you mix,

the more you arrive at a place that allows you to stare hard at yourself, anew.

When I look at a heaping pile of suitcases,

all I see is a corresponding number of human lives.

Why did these people leave the place they were born,

in search of some destination?

Why did they go on this voyage?

I think back on the feelings of these people

on the morning of their departure.

Chiharu Shiota


Chiharu Shiota, Japan/Germany b.1972 / Installation view of Accumulation: Searching for the Destination 2014/2022 in ‘Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles’, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane / Suitcase, motor and red rope / © Chiharu Shiota / Courtesy: Galerie Templon, Paris/Brussels / Photograph: M Campbell, N Harth © QAGOMA

The Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is the exclusive Australian venue for ‘Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles’ in The Fairfax Gallery (1.1), Gallery 1.2 and the Eric & Marion Taylor Gallery (1.3), GOMA, Brisbane from 18 June – 3 October 2022.

Organised by the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, and curated by Mami Kataoka, Director, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo.

Featured image: Chiharu Shiota / Installation view of Accumulation: Searching for the Destination 2014/2022 in ‘The Soul Trembles’, GOMA, Brisbane / Photograph: C Callistermon © QAGOMA



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