The largest and most comprehensive exhibition to date of work by renowned Japanese-born, Berlin-based artist Chiharu Shiota is showing at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA).

GOMA is the exclusive Australian venue for ‘The Soul Trembles’, a survey of more than a hundred works from almost thirty years of Shiota’s practice since the 1990s, incorporating large-scale installations, sculpture, video performance, photography, drawing and set design. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Director Chris Saines CNZM said Chiharu Shiota’s compelling immersive artworks drew on deeply personal emotions and experiences to give visual form to intangible concepts such as memories, anxiety, dreams and silence.

‘Organised and toured by Japan’s Mori Art Museum ‘The Soul Trembles’ encompasses the entire ground floor of GOMA and is accompanied by a free, specially commissioned project in the Children’s Art Centre,’ Mr Saines said. ‘The exhibition features seven of the artist’s intricately woven red and black thread installations including A question of perspective 2022, a major new commission supported by Tim Fairfax AC, drawing on Shiota’s memories of Uluru, experienced on her first visit to Australia.’

Reuben Keehan, Curator of Contemporary Asian Art, QAGOMA said Shiota’s work would spark the imaginations of visitors across generations and cultural backgrounds. ‘Shiota’s artistic practice is deeply personal, expressed through works with universal themes and ambitions. The exhibition title refers to the inexpressible stirrings of the heart, while the countless threads of the artist’s striking, room-filling installations allude to the complex connections that reach deep into our being,’ Mr Keehan said.

‘Highlights of the exhibition include Uncertain Journey 2016/2019, a series of boat forms interconnected by a vast membrane of red thread and In Silence 2002/2019, an installation featuring a burnt baby grand piano connected to rows of singed empty wooden seats by a complex environment of black thread. Moving her hands to create a three-dimensional drawing, Shiota gradually forms a surface from the lines of thread until they completely fill the space. Like prey caught in a spider’s web, we are instantaneously fascinated and bewitched by the extraordinary worlds created,’ Mr Keehan said.

The accompanying Children’s Art Centre exhibition ‘Chiharu Shiota: A Feeling’ explores themes of inner life, including the soul, emotions, and how to express big ideas. The project includes a video in which children share their thoughts about the soul and encourages young visitors to make a drawing of how they feel and add it to a cumulative display. The Soul Trembles’ is accompanied by public programs, including Up Late music events on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 August.

Born in Osaka in 1972, Shiota enrolled at Kyoto Seika University to study painting in 1992. After a formative year at Canberra School of Art from 1993-94 where she abandoned painting in favour of the expressive immediacy of performance and installation, Shiota then based her practice in Berlin from 1999 developing a practice of truly international reach.