Thinking about the purpose and symbolism of keys, Japanese installation artist Chiharu Shiota created ‘The Key in the Hand’. The installation consists of over 50,000 keys suspended from a room-sized tangle of bright red wool. Representing her country at the 56th Venice Biennale, the artist describes each key as having “countless layers of memory’. The keys were collected from various donors all over the world so each has their own story to tell.
Shiota considers keys as being at the forefront of our lives, going everywhere with us and keeping the things we care about safe, calling them a “material that conveys our feelings”. Two boats are also part of the installation, with the idea of the keys being a downpour of memories that the vessels catch. A video projection of children trying to recall their memories, titled ‘How Did You Come Into The World?’ plays nearby the installation, to further develop the idea of memories and feelings.