Saturday, October 15, 2011

Naoshima I

There's so many things to tell about Naoshima. There are so many things I can't tell you about. The art section of the Naoshima is a secret you have to find out about yourself.

Naoshima is an island with (at least) two big art museums: Benesse and Chichu Art museums. There are actually a couple of other museums but these two we managed to see. In addition to the art museums there is a group of smaller ‘Art house project’ –installations that are situated in Honmura area of Naoshima.

I try to keep myself cool writing about the things I’ve seen (Wednesday in Kyoto was also super) but it’s hard. Yes, I haven’t been traveling much and the places I’ve lived in Finland don’t have much to offer when it comes to culture, old and new. And yes, this island has left such an impression to me that nothing compares to it. I believe anyone who’s been there knows what I’m talking about. 

Especially the Chichu Art Museum made me just gasp. James Turrell, Claude Monet and Walter de Maria in an underground complex designed by architect Tadao Ando. I don’t have photos of the art works since it was prohibited. Photos couldn’t do justice to the artworks, their installations and the space anyway so it stays in my brain as a corporeal experience that will always haunt me. Trust me, if you come to Japan, go to Naoshima and at least to Chichu Art Museum! It is a minimalistic temple. The following text from a Chichu leaflet says it well:

“Chichu Art Museum
A museum that considers the relationship
between people and nature.
A place where one’s physical experience
is stimulated intellectually and emotionally
with the rhythm of the Seto Inland Sea
of Japan’s quiet nature and the art and spaces
created for this specific site.”

The Art house project also had a James Turrel installation: a house with one big dark room where you sit and wait your eyes to adjust to the darkness. Also there was a very powerful unification (or maybe some would call it conflict) of the old and new in a Shinto shrine that had glass-looking stairs coming down to ground and through it to a small underground cave. It’s impossible to explain but at least photography was allowed so I can show you the ground level part of the installation/shrine.

So much to do, so little time. So much to blog. I divided Naoshima to three parts. Check out the other two too.

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