News from Te Papa last week is that award-winning Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota will unveil a fully immersive installation, The Web of Time, which draws on ideas of the cosmos, human existence, and the potential for the future, as the fourth site-responsive commission for Te Papa’s Threshold gallery. This will run between 12 December 2020 and late 2021.

Renowned for her otherworldly and intricate ‘drawings in space’, the thread installation made from 3,750 balls of black wool will lead visitors through winding tunnels into a two-storey high artwork built in Level 4 and Level 5 of Toi Art. Within this work 1,000 numbers are intertwined in thread, suspended in space. Shiota believes numbers act as a universal language and a shared concept of time, with the ability to define, as well as connect people.

Chiharu Shiota was born in Osaka, Japan in 1972 and now lives and works in Berlin. Shiota’s inspiration often emerges from a personal experience or emotion which she expands into universal human concerns such as life, death, and relationships. She has redefined the concept of memory and consciousness by collecting ordinary objects such as shoes, keys, beds, chairs, and dresses and engulfing them in immense thread structures. She explores this sensation of a ‘presence in the absence’ with her installations, but also presents intangible emotions in her sculptures, drawings, performance videos, photographs, and canvases.

Image credit: Chiharu Shiota, 2020. Photo by Sunhi Mang. © Copyright Agency, 2020 and the artist