The Power of Ojbects: An Exploration Into the Work of Chiharu Shiota
I begin this thesis with a discussion of Shiota’s Across the Continents. Seeing this exhibit in the spring of 2015 inspired what was to become this year-long project. Throughout this thesis, I explore Shiota’s Across the Continents and her other works, incorporating my second major, anthropology, into the analysis as well. My investigation takes on this question using the anthropological concept of distributed personhood and abduction of agency, as it relates to Shiota’s work especially but also more generally in modern and contemporary art. I will address each subject – shoes, suitcases, and pianos – through one of Shiota’s installations – Across the Continents, Accumulation, and In Silence, respectively (fig. 1.4,1.5). Each of these works, I argue, highlights cross-cultural and temporal boundaries due to the components’ concomitant themes of presence in absence and distributed personhood. . . . Throughout my thesis, I apply this idea of the power of objects to a specific object in each of my three central chapters. I begin by introducing the object and the piece of Shiota’s work that incorporates the said object. I then delve more deeply into the meaning behind Shiota’s installation. Following this exploration, I look at the biography of the object with the belief that learning the history of the object helps my readers understand the seemingly inherent symbolism in each of them. Afterwards, I bring in other artists who have used these objects in their works, comparing and contrasting them to Shiota’s art. Through this organization, I uncover the reason behind society’s allowance of shoes, suitcases, and pianos to abduct their agency.
Thesis; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]Christina Cheadle is a member of the Class of 2016 of Washington and Lee University.