A t the beginning of this month, Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota's retrospective "Chiharu Shiota: The Soul Trembles" held at the Shanghai Long Museum came to a close. The exhibition toured from Tokyo, Japan, to China and is the most extensive retrospective of Shiota's twenty-five years of artistic career to date. Shiota received the invitation to hold this exhibition in 2017, the same year she was diagnosed with cancer again after twelve years. Given the context of Shiota's battle with cancer, her oeuvre focusing on exploring life and death, memory and cognition are further enhanced and manifested within the retrospective. Among the many exhibits in this retrospective is one of Shiota's celebrated dress installations, Reflection of Space and Time, in which two white dresses are suspended within a frame of black threads. This work is likened to an enlarged version of the present work, State of Being (Children's Dress), as if unfolding the growth of a girl to womanhood, therefore outgrowing the children's dress. No longer used, discarded, or forgotten, the dress is kept away in a wardrobe of lost memory constructed with interweaving white threads. White threads are considerably rarer in Shiota's series of thread sculptures and installations, thus emphasising the artist's strong emotions towards the passing of time, the memories and traces of the use embodied within this work.

Similar auction example: Chiharu Shiota, State of Being (Children's Dress), 2010, 50 x 50 x 30 cm, Sold: Sotheby's, Paris, June 2020, 56,250 EUR
相類上拍作品: 鹽田千春,《生存的狀態(童裝裙)》,2010年作,50 x 50 x 30 公分, 售出:巴黎蘇富比,2020年6月,56,250 歐元

Shiota first incorporated threads as a medium in 1999 in her work Dialogue from DNA, whereby 450 shoes collected were connected with red threads pulled up towards a focal point suspended under a house structure built with iron frames and black threads. The artist reenacted the piece in the 2008 exhibition held at the National Museum of Art in Osaka, adjusting it so that the stories behind each shoe were also on display. Since then, collecting everyday objects from the public forms a crucial part of Shiota's modus operandi, surrounding them in threads and transforming them into her intricate sculptural and installations works.

According to Shiota, the tangling and interlocked threads embody the complexity of human emotions and delicate relationships, occasionally tense and vulnerable. Black and red threads are more often seen in Shiota's thread series, rendering the use of white relatively rare. "White represents eternity," the artist explains. "I think time is beyond a linear concept, a constant reincarnation." Dress is also a recurring motif of paramount importance to the artist's creative narrative. It was her Memory of Skin, an installation of suspending twenty-two mud-stained dresses, featured at the Yokohama Triennale in 2001 that gained Shiota international spotlight. Shiota believes that clothes are like a human's second skin. Even if the body perishes, the clothes remain and can embody both the inner and outer aspects of a person beyond their physical existence. Perhaps State of Being (Children's Dress) does not intend to convey the memory or delineate the silhouettes of its original user but acts as an independent decontextualised symbol intervening the viewer's memory, drawing out that piece of clothing deeply imbedded within that was once loved and adored.



對鹽田而言,紗線的糾結穿插展現了人與人之間的關係,環環相扣,時而繃緊,或會斷裂,纖細的材質不言而喻地道出了人類的複雜且多面的情感。在鹽田的作品中,以黑色及紅色的線居多,而像本作所用的白色極為罕見。根據藝術家解釋:「白色的線代表著永恆。【……】我認為時間並非一個線性概念,而是輪迴的。」而裙子對藝術家的創作理念也非常重大。在2001年橫濱三年展中讓鹽田在國際藝壇嶄露頭角的作品《皮膚的記憶》(Memory of Skin),便使用了22件經泥水浸泡的連身裙垂吊而成的裝置藝術。鹽田認為衣服好比人的第二層皮膚,即便身死,衣服仍在,是比人的存在更富表達人的內外的潛力。也許《生存的狀態(童裝裙)》並不是要傳遞其的使用者蘊藏的記憶剪影,而是即使個別的身體不再存在,童裝裙依然能作為一個獨立的符號介入觀者回憶,抽出那深埋腦海裡、曾經非常喜愛或難以忘懷的衣裳。