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Artist Chiharu Shiota in Conversation with Jill Bennett

Chiharu Shiota, The Key in the Hand, 2015
Old keys, old wooden boats, red wool. Installation view at Japan Pavilion, 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. Photograph: Sunhi Mang

Artist Chiharu Shiota in Conversation with Jill Bennett

Event dates

Thursday, 27 August, 2015


27 August 2015 - 6:00pm

Event times

Thursday, 27 August 2015, 6:00-7:30pm

In Sydney as a guest of the 20th Biennale of Sydney, artist Chiharu Shiota will discuss her work, introduced and moderated by Professor Jill Bennett, Founding Director of NIEA and Associate Dean (Research) at UNSW Art & Design. Chiharu Shiota is known for intricate, large-scale, dense installations that she likens to drawing in air. Interested in the complexities of our emotional and physical lives, memory recurs as a consistent theme in the artist’s work, as in her work for the Japanese Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale, The Key in the Hand (2015). In this work, keys tied to thousands of red strings become holders of memory, impressed into them by countless contact with hands, while bearing the responsibility of protecting the things and people we hold dear. For Shiota, the key is also an invitation to ‘open the door to unknown worlds.’ Shiota’s work is concerned with the physicality of the human body, and a provides pause to consider how we perceive reality and existence in increasingly digitised times.

Presented by the Biennale of Sydney in partnership with UNSW Art & Design and NIEA.

The 20th Biennale of Sydney opens on Friday, 18 March 2016.

Currently based in Berlin, Chiharu Shiota (b. 1972, Osaka, Japan) is best known for her large-scale yet intricate installations that explore the relationships between the human body, memory and loss. Trained in drawing and sculpture, Shiota’s practice developed during her studies in performance art under Marina Abramović. Since 1999, she has been gaining international acclaim for her site-specific installations and stage designs. Her work has been exhibited worldwide, including at the Smithsonian Instaitution/Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Washington, 2014), Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (Sydney, 2013), Casa Asia (Barcelona, 2012), The National Museum of Art (Osaka, 2008), Neue Nationalgalerie (Berlin, 2006) and MoMA PS1 (New York, 2003), as well as the Biennials in Venice, Italy, and in Fukuoka and Yokohama, Japan. She is representing Japan this year at the Japanese Pavilion in the 56th Venice Biennale (2015).

Jill Bennett is Professor of Experimental Arts and founding Director of NIEA, and has been Associate Dean Research, College of Fine Arts, since 2006. A writer and curator, she has published widely on visual culture, new media and transdisciplinary aesthetics. Her research is particularly focused on aesthetics (broadly understood as the analysis of sensori-affective perception and interaction) and its 'practical' deployment both in art/exhibitions and in social and scientific areas beyond traditional art practice. In 2014, Bennett curated Amnesia Lab at UNSW – an exhibition and "live lab" bringing together artists and cognitive neuropsychologists researching memory loss. With Volker Kuchelmeister she has led the development of the 3D immersive Amnesia Atlas, a media installation designed to investigate processes of memory retrieval.


More info

FREE ENTRY, RSVP via EventBrite Essential


EG02 Lecture Theatre
UNSW Art & Design
Cnr of Greens Road and Oxford Street, Paddington NSW 2021



Chiharu Shiota
Jill Bennett