fine art printmaking


Chiharu Shiota


Japanese, 1972

lives and works in Berlin



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chiharu shiota art

We were thrilled to have Chiharu Shiota in the workshop. Best known for her densely-woven installations of yarn and various objects, Shiota also creates stunning drawings and works on paper. For her first collaboration with Keystone Editions, she has created two beautiful images, drawn directly on stone.

chiharu shiota lithograph

Follow the Line (2017)


Edition: 20

2-colour lithograph

80 cm x 60 cm


Collaborating printer: Sarah Dudley



chiharu shiota boat lithograph




Direction (2017)


Edition: 20

1-colour lithograph

50 cm x 41 cm


Collaborating printer: Sarah Dudley



Chiharu Shiota on 'Follow the Line':

“I use red because it symbolises the colour of blood. It also represents an invisible line within a rope. It is in the inside, you cannot see it but it is actually the thin thread that holds everything together and connects it. The red line is invisible to the human’s eye but it is strongly connected and once we are able to glance this piece of red thread, we can observe all relationships as a whole. If an artist’s job is to affect the viewer emotionally, the yarn that controls their heart sometimes resembles words that express a connection between people. Relationships using knotted, tangled, cut, tied, or stretched yarn.”



Chiharu Shiota on 'Direction':
“The boats adapt to the movement of the wavy lines of the sea, wandering through open and turbulent waters or calm waters alike. We get carried away as we are trying to conceive the idea of our sense of belonging in order to accept the uncertainty of our journey in life. Weaving functions as the complexity of the human brain. We never know what a person is thinking because we cannot access their brains to discover what they feel. We can guess but it is impossible to be accurate. These webbed threads draw the complex system of the human brain.

Ships carry time and people. They feature a defined direction in their architecture with no other choice but to keep moving forward. Even though we don’t know where we are heading, we cannot stop anymore. The ships carry us through a journey of uncertainty and wonder. They symbolise the bearers of dreams and hope."




In collaboration with Keystone Editions, Chiharu Shiota has created two works entitled ‘Follow the Line’, and ‘Direction’. Both images were drawn directly on stone, and are reminiscent of Shiota's memorable installations, as well as her works on paper.


Sketched in vigorous lines and various shades of black and grey, her oil pastel drawings often portray figures, either alone or arranged in groups. These drawings possess a ghostlike, mysterious quality, similar to her site-specific installations, for which large numbers of objects are integrated into dense webs of yarn, creating impenetrable structures.

'Direction' is a delightfully lively image where Shiota's mastery of the drawn line unmistakable. The boat with keys hanging from a densely woven field of lines implies a direct correlation to her installation 'The Key in the Hand', shown at the 2015 Venice Biennale. In ‘Follow the Line’, an important recurring theme in Shiota’s oeuvre is represented by the red and black lines intertwining the figures, the house, and each other: these lines show our invisible yet crucial need for interpersonal connection and community.

Both images are hand-printed lithographs. Due to the intense pressure required by this technique, the ink is pressed deeply into the paper, making the images seem directly drawn by the artist on to the paper. This impression is strengthened by the texture of the lines - the lithography stone’s slightly rough surface creates marks with qualities nearly identical to those drawn on paper with pastel or charcoal. The light grey tones are supplemented by deep, black elements, creating a whole spectrum of tonal variations, which, in ‘Follow the Line’ are in turn complemented by a rich red.

The lithographic technique also enables the combination of painterly and graphic elements that characterise Shiota's works on paper. The spontaneity in the lines, combined with delicate water washes, lends her prints an additional sense of vitality. Shiota’s drawings testify to a quick, intuitive approach, to the immediacy and simultaneity of the thought and its visual translation. Despite the process-intensive nature of printmaking, retaining this freedom and spontaneity is possible in lithography. The ability for direct, unconstrained application of drawing materials to the stone, allows for Shiota’s vibrant working process to be reflected in the printed images.



Text: Ferial Nadja Karrasch

Translation: Sarah Dudley

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