The 2015 Venice Art Biennale is home to Chiharu Shiota‘s ‘The Key in the Hand,’ an elaborate entanglement of red wool and keys that dangle above two ancient looking boats. Living within the biennale’s Japan pavilion, the installation nearly blocks out the ceiling with its mass of crossing strings, and includes a collection of more than 50,000 keys.
The piece points towards memory through its composition of materials as the keys were collected from thousands of people around the world. Each key holds memories of the individual through their previous daily use, and now hangs amongst the many other memory-tied talismans above the heads of passing visitors. “Keys are familiar and very valuable things that protect important people and spaces in our lives,” said Shiota. “They also inspire us to open the door to unknown worlds… I would like to use keys provided by the general public that are imbued with various recollections and memories that have accumulated over a long period of daily use.”
The Japanese performance and installation artist often employs the use of everyday objects like beds, windows, and shoes within her work to explore the relationship between living and dying and to access memories found within these objects. Often Shiota’s installations fill an entire room, yet hold a delicate and poetic composition. Recent solo exhibitions include “Follow the Line” at the Japan Foundation in Cologne, Germany, “Chiharu Shiota: Works on Paper” at Hadrien de Montferrand Gallery in Beijing, China, and “Seven Dresses” at Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken in Saarbrücken. Shiota was born in 1972 in Osaka, and has been living and working in Berlin for the past two decades. (via designboom)