When she was nine, Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota saw the burnt-out, soundless remains of her neighbour’s piano after a house fire. The image stayed with her. Now, it has inspired a haunting new work, rendered in her preferred medium, webs of twisted thread.
‘Beyond Time’ – an immersive installation spun from the flagstones to the rafters in the deconsecrated, 18th-century chapel at Yorkshire Sculpture Park – is divergent from Shiota’s previous works, in that it uses pure, white thread instead of the gothic reds and blacks she earlier favoured. Traditionally, white represents mourning in Japan, but for Shioto, it has a connection to ‘eternity’; her belief that entering into death is just another phase of being.
Exterior of the Chapel at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. © The artist and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2018. Courtesy of Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Photography: © Jonty Wilde
Emitting from a cast iron piano in the centre of the space, like a visual manifestation of sound, a complexity of white threads entangle hundreds of sheets of paper. From afar, it’s a hurricane in a printworks. Look closely and you’ll see that each sheet is uniquely printed with writing and score.
We’re told some papers come from the booklet of Ezra Taylor’s memorial service which happened in the venue in the 1960s. Another set contains the chapel’s bell ringing instructions, and a third contains the dedication of the chapel organ (the wood from which has coincidentally been used by other artists with works at YSP).
It was the chapel’s absence of a musical instrument that first inspired Shiota to create the installation, and the silence of the space remains tangible. There’s rigidity in the unplayable black steel keys of the piano; a quietude from the visitors contemplatively milling, stillness in the papers that are snapshot-suspended, mid-flight.
This silence adds to the performative quality of the installation. Trained by Marina Abramović in Berlin, Shiota began her career as a performance artist, inspirations from which linger in the webs – a sensory explosion.
A scattering of additional works are concealed from first view in the matroneum and vestibule – bronze cast hands lovingly entwined together, portraits of dancing figures embellished with thread arabesques. Hidden like confessions to Shiota’s wider practice, they’re intriguing, but not wholly in sync with the charged webs that criss-cross through the chapel. Instead, they contextualise Shiota’s work, grounding the installation in her interest in memory, relationships, loss.
Embracing all who enter, ‘Beyond Time’ references the chapel’s rich history and years of human presence, dating back to 1744, alluding to the bells that were rung, the songs that were sung, and the lives that revolved around it. It also comments on the chapel’s deconsecration, filling the space floor-to-roof in agnostic ‘art’, there for its beauty and symbolism alone. Yet, like after a religious service, we leave peaceful, contemplative, refreshed.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Wakeﬁeld WF4 4LG
Elly Parsons is the Digital Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees Wallpaper.com and its social platforms. She has been with the brand since 2015 in various roles, spending time as digital writer – specialising in art, technology and contemporary culture – and as deputy digital editor. She was shortlisted for a PPA Award in 2017, has written extensively for many publications, and has contributed to three books. She is a guest lecturer in digital journalism at Goldsmiths University, London, where she also holds a masters degree in creative writing. Now, her main areas of expertise include content strategy, audience engagement, and social media.
Ferrari teams up with Montblanc for a high-performance fountain pen
The Montblanc Ferrari Stilema SP3 is as sleek and rarefied as the company’s legendary sports cars. We spoke to Ferrari's Flavio Manzoni about the collaboration
By Jonathan Bell • Published
Apartment interior design: outstanding spaces around the globe
Apartment interiors can be tricky to balance. Create a sense of space and get inspired by our global edit of architect-designed ideas. From minimalist mezzanines and lofts that bridge old and new, to sleek urban penthouses and dramatic transformations
By Ellie Stathaki • Published
Zegna’s ‘Triple Stitch’ sneaker captures the house’s 112 years of innovation
Zegna’s signature ‘Triple Stitch’ sneaker returns for S/S 2023, now available in luxurious fabrications – from grained leather to canvas and soft suede
By Jack Moss • Published
Buckhorn Sculpture Park: inside the art paradise dreamt up by collectors Sherry and Joel Mallin
As legendary art collectors Sherry and Joel Mallin prepare to sell their upstate New York home – and the star-studded collection occupying Buckhorn, its onsite sculpture park – we go behind the scenes of this art treasure trove, and the extraordinary life, work and spirit of the Mallins
By MZ Adnan • Published
Louis Barthélemy’s tapestries capture the sublimity and dynamism of Senegalese wrestling
‘Mbër Yi / The Wrestlers’ at the Théodore Monod African Art Museum (IFAN) in Dakar sees French artist Louis Barthélemy respond to Senegalese mysticism in appliquéd hangings
By Emeline Nsingi Nkosi • Published
Theaster Gates’ New Museum exhibition meditates on mourning, materials and community
Theaster Gates talks about his first US museum show, ‘Young Lords and Their Traces’ at The New Museum (until 5 February 2023), a moving homage to the creative forces who came before
By Pei-Ru Keh • Published
Ryoji Ikeda and Grönlund-Nisunen saturate Berlin gallery in sound, vision and visceral sensation
At Esther Schipper gallery Berlin, artists Ryoji Ikeda and Grönlund-Nisunen draw on the elemental forces of sound and light in a meditative and disorienting joint exhibition
By Harriet Lloyd-Smith • Published
London art exhibitions: a guide for early 2023
Your guide to the best London art exhibitions, and those around the UK, as chosen by the Wallpaper* arts desk
By Harriet Lloyd Smith • Published
Cecilia Vicuña’s ‘Brain Forest Quipu’ wins Best Art Installation in the 2023 Wallpaper* Design Awards
Brain Forest Quipu, Cecilia Vicuña's Hyundai Commission at Tate Modern, has been crowned 'Best Art Installation' in the 2023 Wallpaper* Design Awards
By Harriet Lloyd-Smith • Published
Michael Heizer’s Nevada ‘City’: the land art masterpiece that took 50 years to conceive
Michael Heizer’s City in the Nevada Desert (1972-2022) has been awarded ‘Best eighth wonder’ in the 2023 Wallpaper* design awards. We explore how this staggering example of land art came to be
By Harriet Lloyd-Smith • Published
Hiroshi Sugimoto: ‘The deeper I explore Shinto and Buddhist art, the more it reveals the shallowness of contemporary art’
‘Hiroshi Sugimoto – The Descent of the Kasuga Spirit’, at the Kasuga-Taisha shrine in Nara, Japan, sees the acclaimed photographer draw on Japan’s spiritual past and present
By Minako Norimatsu • Published