Saturday, September 13, 2014

Perspectives: Chiharu Shiota

Where: Sackler Gallery

When: through June 7, 2015

A few posts ago, I described seeing this installation as it was assembled.  Now, I went to see the finished product.  I thought I might find it less interesting than usual, since I'd seen part of it already, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Having the wall notes to explain the work gave me a context for the display which was quite helpful.  Shiota has gathered together shoes that have been discarded by their owners; some she gets from friends, others from second-hand stores.  When she can, she has the former owner of the shoes write a note about the significance of the shoes that she then attaches to the shoe in question.  She sets up the shoes on the floor and attaches each of them to a central point on the wall behind them with red yarn.  Thus, even though these shoes were from many different people and have no relationship one to the other, they are all connected.

I think of it as a reminder that human beings may be strangers, but we're all humans living on this planet and thus connected.  Many of the shoes, although all from Japan, were ones you might see in the United States - further proof of our connectedness.  I also couldn't help but think of those who made the shoes and those who designed them.  They, as much as the wearers of the shoes, were present as well.  I couldn't read the notes, as they were all in Japanese, but I suspect they add to the piece.

Verdict: There's plenty of time to see this installation when you're next in the Sackler for a show.  Take a few minutes to walk around and see this intriguing piece.

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