The Key In Hand by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota turned the Japan pavilion at this year’s Venice Art Biennale into a sea of red with an immersive installation comprising of more than 50,000 keys hanging from a cloud of tightly interwoven string. The red expanse infilled the building’s ceiling and walls, intertwining entrants within a maze of vibrantly colored yarn.

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The web of threads turns the roof into a complex and elaborate labyrinth of materials, forming an undulating path for which viewers to traverse beneath. Two rustic boats at the centre of the space part the veil of keys, catching the net of interlaced metal and material as it passes over and permeates the entirety of the site.

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The installation seeks to explore the notion of memory, using tens of thousands of keys collected from people across the globe. “Keys are familiar and very valuable things that protect important people and spaces in our lives. they also inspire us to open the door to unknown worlds,” Shiota explains.

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