On the eve of Art Brussels, artist Chiharu Shiota will be presenting a new installation, Black Rain, at Galerie Templon in Brussels. This immersive work with its spectacular setting of black umbrellas was created as a reaction to drastic experiences in the artist’s life.

The artist explains: “A storm appears on the horizon, the clouds grow darker and darker. This is not a light drizzle, cleaning the air giving life to earth, this is a natural catastrophe, threatening my existence. The black sky absorbs all light, all life. Underneath the umbrella, the sound of the rain grows louder and louder. It is deafening. The rain has turned black, my emotions have become dull, my existence is uncertain. With my installation Black Rain I want to express this dark time in my life, the storm that I have endured. Fourteen years ago I suffered from cancer. Since then I have been working constantly, creating new installations and traveling to exhibitions, I have been so occupied with life that I sometimes forget that life is limited. However life and death are much more closely connected than we believe. I cannot escape death, but I realise that my strength in life is reached by the confrontation of death. To be alive means to endure suffering, it is part of our existence. This is our story. I transformed suffering to create something new and hopeful."

A forest of suspended umbrellas, Black Rain shrouds visitors under a dark mantle, both menacing and reassuring, disturbing and dreamlike. As a counterpoint, Chiharu Shiota is presenting a new collection of sculptures and paintings in unexpected materials: gilt bronze, blood-red glass, red and white thread. Hands stretch out and encircle, the woven threads allude to skin and breath. Life is lived fuller; energy spreads across the space.