A Sea of Red: Japan Pavilion Venezia Art Biennale 2015

Imagine yourself immersed in a sea of red.  This was my experience walking into the Japan Pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.  

This truly was a take your breath away moment...I felt my breathing slow and was mesmerized at the beauty of the Chiharu Shiota's described as:  

A space filled with red yarn. Attached to the end of each piece of yarn, suspended from the ceiling, [is] a key. In our daily lives, keys protect valuable things like our houses, assets, and personal safety. . . . By coming into contact with people’s warmth on a daily basis, the keys accumulate countless, multilayered memories that dwell within us. Then at a certain point we entrust the keys, packed with memories, to others who we trust to look after the things that are important to us. . . . two boats on the floor beneath the yarn and the hanging keys. . . . symbolize two hands catching a rain of memories (i.e., countless keys) pouring down from the ceiling. (Japan Pavilion, 2015)  

In her statement on youtube, Shiota (2015) spoke about keys carrying human stories and memories of events even noting how the shape of the key is like the shape of a human body.  "If you have a key in the hand, you have a chance."  I resonated with the interconnectedness represented by the installation.  In perhaps a silly thought, I smiled as I considered how we're all in the same boat.  Introspectively, I wondered how my thoughts, actions, and deeds promote interconnectedness or opportunity for those I encounter.   I want to be about fostering those spaces for others to realize those 'chances' represented by the keys.  This is the power of such an exquisite exhibit.   


Azzarello, N. (2015).  Chiharu Shiota weaves an immersive labyrinth of keys and yarn.  Design Boom.  Retrieved from http://www.designboom.com/art/chiharu-shiota-venice-art-biennale-the-key-in-the-hand-05-06-2015/

Japan Pavilion. (2015).  The Key In Hand.  Retrieved from http://2015.veneziabiennale-japanpavilion.jp/en/

Japan Pavilion. (2015). Experience the installation.  Retrieved fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvCfgV7qimA

Shiota, C. (n.d.). Artist website.  Retrieved from http://www.chiharu-shiota.com/en/ 

Shiota, C. (2015).  Artist Interview.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DV3AwzrQbIo