Japanese / English


Mio Shirai was born in 1962 in Kyoto, Japan. From the age of 7 she lived in Tokyo. She studied at Tokyo University of Fine Arts, Tokyo (BA, MFA). Between 1993 and 2006 she lived in New York. She currently lives and works in Tokyo. Her works has been shown widely in Japan, Europe and United States with in numerous exhibitions such as 7th Triennale India (New Delhi), Shedhalle (Zürich), The Munichipal Museum Prague, Kunstlerhaus (Graze), Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (Sunderland, UK), Exit Art (New York), Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2000 (Niigata), 'Artist File 2008' The National Art Center Tokyo, Setouchi Art Triennale 2013 (Uno, Okayama), Aichi Triennale 2013 (Aichi).

Mio Shirai's work tends to explore on-going issues of relationship among the human being, natural aspects of her environment and artificial aspects of her environment as well as the dynamic boundaries and interchangeable processes of nature's figure and everyday icons of civilization associated therewith. Her approach encompasses as well as systematic methodology of viewing universal dynamics: rotating and inverting the relationships among the private or inner world and the public self and otherness - objects can exist as interfaces for transcendence between and among these various aspects of worldliness.

Shirai's short films draw upon traditional folklore and myths, and popular stories that we all learn as children. Her films retell these stories and myths, imbuing them with a sense of uncanny and absurd — a feeling of being "out of step", in her own words.

Awards and Fellowships

1993 Asian Cultural Council Fellowship Grant, New York

1996 Freeman Foundation Fellowship, Vermont

1998 Pola Art Foundation Fellowship, Tokyo

2004 chashama Project Studio Program Residency, New York

2006 chashama Visual Arts Studio Award, New York

2008 UK-Japan 2008 Artist in Residence, Sunderland University, UK

2009 Nomura Foundation, Arts CommissionYokohama

Selected Bibliography


Abracadabra of Drawing 12 Artists Who Cast Their Spells on Paintings and Spaces, exh. cat, Ichihara Lakeside Museum, Chiba. KATO, Chika “Magic Spells and Drawings”, pp. 16-24; [plates] pp. 46-53, 92-95; NARIAI, Hajime “The Materialism of the Shamans” pp. 86-88; KATO, Chika “Mio Shirai” pp. 132-133; [biography] p. 171

Painting Here And Now, exh. cat, Fuchu Art Museum, Tokyo, KAMIYAMA, Ryoko “Looking at the World of Painting Today”, pp. 9-11; SAKAMOTO, Akemi “From the 1990s to ‘Paintings Here and Now’, pp. 14-15; [plates] pp. 48-57; SHIRAI, Mio [comment] p. 97; [biography] pp. 97-98; [selected bibliography] p. 98


MIO SHIRAI WORKS1987-2016. MITSUDA, Yuri "Mio Shirai: A Thirty-year Maze of Non-meaning and Intent", pp. 84-85; [plates] pp. 3-71; [list of works] pp. 86-90; [biography] pp. 91-92; [bibliography] pp. 93-94

Reflection: In Return to Koji Enokura/ Works. booklet. SHIRAI, Mio [comment] p. 13; [plates] pp. 4-5, 12-13; [biography]


Reflection: In Return to Koji Enokura/ Essay. booklet. KAMIYAMA, Ryoko 'Return after 20 years' pp. 9-10

Reflection: In Return to Koji Enokura, Gallery. 2015 vol.10 No. 366 p. 48

BankART1929 City Living BankART1929's Activities, BankART1929 [plates] p.  71, 76, 82, 146, 164


Unknown History, exh. cat., Ayumi Gallery and Underground, Tokyo. KATO, Chika "Underground 'Flow/Oral' ", p. 95; SHIRAI, Mio [comment] pp. 98-99; OTAKE, Kaori "Inheriting HistoryTrough 'Flow/Oral' ", pp. 105-107; [plates] p. 7, p. 25

SETOUCHI TRIENNALE 2013, Uno port, Okayama. SHIRAI, Mio p. 294, pp. 300-301

11th Art Program Ome 2013, Ome Municipal Museum of Art, Tokyo. exh. cat., pp. 30-31


ROADSHOW, void+, Tokyo. MITSUDA, Yuri "ROADSHOW Time", p. 1; "Mio Shirai Mrs.Teeny", p. 4; [plates] pp. 4-5

Unknown—Artists in the Post-3.11 World-, exh. cat., Ayumi Gallery, Tokyo. SHIRAI, Mio [comment] p. 148; KATO, Chika "Body", p. 166, SHIMIZU, Tetsuo "Unknown Life", pp. 172-174; [plates] p. 11, pp. 16-17, p. 63, p. 141

Aichi Triennale 2013—Awakening, Aichi. exh. cat., HAITO, Masahiko p. 116; [plates] pp. 116-117


Shin Minatomura—Small City for the Future, exh. cat., Shinko-pier, BankART1929, Yokohama. SHIRAI, Mio "Spiral Home", p. 66; [plates] pp. 60-61, 137


TO-BE TOKYO+BERLIN COMMUNICATION ART, exh, cat., Freies Museum Berlin, Germany, pp. 84-85


The 1st Tokorozawa Biennial of Contemporary Art SIDING RAIL ROAD 2009, exh. cat., Seibu railroad factory, Saitama, pp. 192-195

BankART Life2, exh. cat., BankART1929, Yokohama, pp. 163-164, 220, 222


GOULDING, Alison "Artist explores UK/Japanese links through Alice in Sunderland — Curiouser and Curiouser", Sunderland Echo, August 14, 2008 pp. 26-27

'A Gift to Those who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling', Mio Shirai, Erika Tan. Northern Gallery of Contenporary Art, England, 2008

Artists File 2008: The NACT Annual Show of Contemporary Art. File 006: Mio Shirai. exh. cat., The National Art Center, Tokyo / Special Exhibition Gallery 2E. MINAMI, Yusuke 'Mio Shirai and Three-Part Work

about Art', pp. 5-7; [plates] pp. 9-24 [biography] pp. 27-28; [bibliography] pp. 29-30


Art and Hope, Dream of Collaboration; 40 years of Fram Kitagawa, Kadokawa-shoten, pp. 111, 256-259


ECHIGO-TSUMARI ART TRIENNALE 2000, Niigata, pp. 154-155


Japanese Art - from Modern to Contemporary, Kahoku-kyoikushuppansha, China, "Mio Shirai", pp. 165-166


images of women in Japanese contemporary art 1930s-'90s, exh. cat., The Shoto Museum of Art, Tokyo

Inside of Works, Outside of Works, exh. cat., Itabashi Art Museum, Tokyo, pp. 48-49


Essay of Art for Five Senses, Miraisha, SHINOHARA, Motoaki, "For Two Ms", pp. 47-55

6.Triennale Kleinplastik1995 Europe-Ostasien, exh. cat., SudwestLB Forum, Stuttgart, Germany. HEGYI, Lóránd, "Europe-Ostasien Bemerkungen zur Konzeption der Ausstellung und zur Positionierung der zeitgenossischen Kleinplastik", pp. 14-43, pp. 232-233

Fukui International Video Biennale, exh. cat., SHIRAI, Mio 'Public Rose', pp. 105-108

MITSUDA, Yuri "flowers for wounds", Art and Asia Pacific, Sydney, vol2, No.2, April, 1995, pp. 60-69


00 Collaboration: Poetry and Art, Shinchosha, TANOKURA, Koichi "TheExperience of Distance", pp. 128-132; [plates] pp. 22-25

Mio Shirai: ill see ill said, exh. cat., East West Cultural Studies, New York, HEARTNEY, Eleanor, 1994

KUNST HEIMAT KUNST, exh. cat., Kunstlerhaus Graz, Austria, HROCH, Sigrid, "Watched While Sleeping", pp. 16-17


Jahresbericht Verein Shedhalle 1993, Shedhalle, Zurich, [exh.record], p. 45

Mio Shirai, exh, cat., Hillside gallery, Tokyo. SHINOHARA, Motoaki, "For Two Ms"

ONDRACKA, Pavel, "Umění jak ho delaji Ženy", ateliér, Czech Republic, May 27, 1993

HOFLEINTNER, Johanna, "Jennifer Bolande, Silvia Gertsch, Marie Theres Huber, Pipilotti Rist, Mio Shirai", Forum International No. 17, Switzerland, March 1993

MAURER, Simon & LUX, Harm, Artis, Bisoingen-Behringen, Germany, February, 1993

ORO D' AUTORE: GIAPPONE e STATI UNITI D' AMERICA, exh. cat., Basilica Inferiore di San Francesco, Arezzo, Italy. [notes on the work], p. 34; [plates], pp. 35, 84-85


HILTMANN, Gabriela, "von nicht überwindbarerDistanz", Basier Zeitung, Basel, December 29, 1992

[exh. preview], Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Zurich, December 18, 1992

[exh. preview], "Auf ins <Zipfelmüzenkino> !", Der Bund, Bern, December 14,1992

EGGENBERGER, Ursula / ETTER, Ludmilla, 'Mec"anikerinnen von Ready-mades", Zurichsee-Zeitung, December 8, 1992

[exh. preview], "Kunst aus drei Kontinenten", Neue Zucher Zeitung, Zürich, December 5

MAURER, Simon, Tages Anzeiger, Zurich, December 5, 1992

Jennifer Bolande, Mio Shirai, Marie-Theres Huber, Silvia Gertsch, Pipilotti Rist, exh. cat., Shedhalle, Zurich. LUX, Harm, "Mio Shirai"

FUTURE CHRONICLE, exh. cat., Memory's Gallery, Nagoya

1st habitart Exhibition MAKING ROOM —space as material—, exh. cat., Pacifico Yokohama, AMANO, Taro, "MAKING ROOM —space as material—"

SILVA, Arturo, "Kenjiro Okazaki and Mio Shirai", The Daily Yomiuri, April 16, 1992

Mio Shirai, exh. cat., SOKO Tokyo Gallery,1992


The Silent Passion: Seven Artists from Japan, exh. cat., Tochigi Prefectural Museum of fine Arts, Utsunomiya, [plates] pp. 22-27

Mio SHIRAI, exh. cat., Hillside Gallery, Tokyo. YAMAMOTO, Kazuhiro, "Suggestive Silence", p. 1; SAWARAGI Noi, "Atmosphere", p. 2; MITSUDA, Yuri, "The Reverse of Iconography: Shirai Mio", pp. 3-5; SHINOHARA, Motoaki, "For Two M's", p. 6; HAYAMI, Takashi, "Shirai Mio's Duality", p. 7; NAKAMURA, Hideki, "To the Indefinite Topos", pp. 8-9; BROWN, Azby, "Interview with Shirai Mio", pp. 10-11

The 7th Triennale India 1991, exh. cat., New Delhi. NAKAMURA, Hideki, "Crystallization of the Relation to the External", pp. 6-7; "Mio SHIRAI; To the Indefinite Topos", pp. 18-19; [plates], pp. 20-23


BROWN, Azby, "Trias and Others", Asahi Evening News, November 30, 1990

MIO SHIRAI, exh. cat., Hillside Gallery, Tokyo. SHIMIZU, Tetsuro, "Incomplete Completion"

The 26th Artists Today Exhibition <Trias> , exh. cat., Yokohama Civic Art Gallery, KONDO, Yukio, "AN EMPTY SPACE"


MIO SHIRAI, exh. cat., Hillside Gallery, Tokyo, 1989. NAKAMURA, Hideki, "An Elementary Analysis of Life"; SHIRAI, Mio [statements]

©2016 Mio Shirai