Chiharu Shiota – Where are we now?

In her installations, Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota deals with themes and contexts of human existence. In the tunnels of the former concentration camp, the artist has created an installation consisting of red ropes and 25 larger-than-life clothes.


Subject to change
Chiharu Shiota – Wo sind wir jetzt?
© Oskar C. Neubauer

Chiharu Shiota (Artists)
Atelier Chiharu Shiota
Roman Widmann (Technichal Director)
Zeitgeschichte Museum & KZ-Gedenkstätte Ebensee (Kooperationspartner)

Marian Holzmüller (Production)
Simone Barlian
(Head of Programme Visual Arts)
Teresa Kranawetter (Assistance Visual Arts)

With the kind support of EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee

27 April - 14 June: Sat - Sun 10am - 5pm
15 June - 15 September: Tue - Sun 10am - 5pm
16 September - 30 September: Sat - Sun 10am - 5pm

About the project

There is an explanatory plaque at the entrance to the Ebensee concentration camp. It contains information about the prisoners of war who were sent here and the cruel suffering they had to endure until they died or the camp was liberated. However, if you don’t read the description at the entrance, it is just a large tunnel. The stone walls are damp and there are puddles of water on the floor. In a place so steeped in history, it is not easy to create a work of art worthy of the place.

“The tunnel of the former concentration camp at Ebensee is a surreal place. Even though it was created by human beings, it feels as though humans should not be in it. I wanted to fill this sad place with empty bodies.

The dresses create the shape of a body and fill the space with presence. I have been working with the concept of the presence of absence for a long time. I think the associations that the emptiness creates in the visitors are very interesting. For me, our clothing is like our second skin. Our third skin is the buildings in which we withdraw ourselves from the world. Within these safe spaces we show who we really are. But we have also not chosen these characteristics, either. Family, religion, culture, all of these are borders that we move around inside of. All of the information in our blood stands in relationship to other humans and that is often beautiful, but it can also be a burden to us as well.

In my installation, the dresses are surrounded by red cables. The blood vessels are normally inside the body, but they are outside in my installation. They keep the dresses captive and protect them as well. I often ask myself about the servicing of ourselves and of society. Why is it so ambivalent that we need each other and yet have to protect ourselves from each other?” 



…by train:
From the railway station “Ebensee Landungsplatz”, the concentration camp memorial can be reached by local bus (only on weekdays, Mon-Fri) or on foot from Ebensee railway station (approx. 30 minutes).
The memorial is located outside the town centre.

…by car:
On the B145 to Gmunden or Bad Ischl, take the “Rindbach” exit. From there the way to the memorial is well signposted. Limited parking is available in front of the concentration camp cemetery. The walk from there to the tunnel complex takes about 5 minutes.