One of the latest creations from Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota delivers something everyone could use a little more of right now: Hope.
The piece, titled “I hope…” was recently on display at the König Galerie, an art space located in the former St. Agnes church, in Berlin, Germany. It features 10,000 letters written on red paper, which she has received from people throughout the world.
Each letter lists the sender’s hopes and dreams for the future. All of them are connected by strands of scarlet thread and are suspended in the air.
In an interview with My Modern Met, Shiota explained that it’s been difficult for many people to feel hopeful during the pandemic, which has infected over 140 million people and been responsible for nearly 3 million deaths so far.
She added that hope and “imagination for the future” are essential to human survival and insisted that for those who “have no inspiration,” there is also “no future.”
Shiota went on to explain that the theme of this installation was “existence in the absence.” To her, this means that even when a person is not physically there (such as those who lost their lives to COVID-19), one can still feel their presence and feel hopeful and optimistic about the future.
“I hope…” has similarities to another piece that Shiota created in 2015. This installation, titled “The Key in the Hand,” also featured connected objects with bright red thread. Rather than linking letters from all over the world, though, it linked 50,000 keys, all of which stemmed from a wooden boat.
Shiota’s latest exhibition was closed to the public because of the lock-down regulations in the city. However, moving performances by dancers, musicians, and other artists in the installation space were available for virtual viewing on her social media.