When I first set my eyes on Japan-born, Berlin-based artist Chiharu Shiota’s work, I wasn’t sure if I was looking at an installation or a dark charcoal illustration. Though the piece echoes sketch-like imagery, it is in fact an installation piece involving a burnt piano in a room ravaged by black wool. The work known as In Silence is inspired by Shiota’s own traumatic memories as a child, having witnessed her neighbor’s house burn down. The charred piano is a direct memory of her neighbor’s grand piano blazed up in smoke.
There is a melancholic aura that hovers throughout the incinerated room filled with singed furniture. The miles of thread woven in, around, and through each item within the space adds a feeling of entrapment. The way it engulfs the room’s furnishings encapsulates the destructive and overwhelming nature of flames that have possessed one’s material properties.