Artist Collects 10,000 Letters From People Around the World for Immersive Exhibition on Hope

Chiharu Shiota "I Hope..." Thread Art Installation at Konig Galerie

Hope is a word that we have all become more familiar with—or perhaps forgotten—in the last year or so. The world has experienced innumerable complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota sought to create a space that would remind and inspire us to believe again. For a recent exhibition of her art at Berlin’s König Galerie, she created an immersive installation titled I hope… The piece subsumes 10,000 letters that were sent to her from people around the globe, sharing their hopes for the future. The correspondence was then interconnected by thousands of lengths of scarlet thread hanging suspended in the air.

“During this COVID-19 pandemic, it is difficult to think about hope, but imagination for the future is very important for human beings,” Shiota tells My Modern Met. “If you have no inspiration, there is no future. I gave people red paper so they could write their hopes for the future, and then I could fill the gallery with this hope… My theme is existence in the absence. This means, no one is there, but I feel like someone is present. So, when someone dies, I can feel their existence. I want to create this feeling with my installation… I am weaving the memory into existence.”

The threads hung in the nave of St. Agnes, a former church that is now the exhibition space for the König Galerie. “I thought this place was good for hope,” Shiota explains. “Normally people pray for their future in the church, and this place has a lot of hope—it was a good place to do the installation.” Though the exhibition itself was not open to the public for a period due to local restrictions, that didn't stop people from interacting with it. Musicians, dancers, and other performers who are close to the artist were invited to come and perform in the empty installation, and their presentations were streamed online to allow viewers to participate and connect virtually.

The exhibition has now ended, but the moving performance series is still available for viewing on Facebook and Instagram until April 18, 2021. In the meantime, scroll down to see more incredible images of Chiharu Shiota’s moving thread art installation I hope…

Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota suspended 10,000 letters of hope from the air in her immersive thread installation titled I hope…

Chiharu Shiota "I Hope..." Thread Art Installation at Konig GalerieChiharu Shiota "I Hope..." Thread Art Installation at Konig GalerieChiharu Shiota "I Hope..." Thread Art Installation at Konig Galerie

The artist asked people from around the world to send in their hopes for the future in order to inspire connection and hope during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chiharu Shiota "I Hope..." Thread Art Installation at Konig GalerieChiharu Shiota "I Hope..." Thread Art Installation at Konig GalerieChiharu Shiota "I Hope..." Thread Art Installation at Konig Galerie

While the exhibition was closed to the public, artists, dancers, and musicians were invited to perform in the empty installation.

Chiharu Shiota: Website | Instagram | Facebook
König Galerie: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Chiharu Shiota.

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Arnesia Young

Arnesia Young is a contributing writer for My Modern Met and an aspiring art historian. She holds a BA in Art History and Curatorial Studies with a minor in Design from Brigham Young University. With a love and passion for the arts, culture, and all things creative, she finds herself intrigued by the creative process and is constantly seeking new ways to explore and understand it.
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