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Art in Japan's Teshima and Naoshima: a wonderful cultural experience

artists, spaces, Japan art tours

25 June 2018
Teshima Art Museum

Teshima Art Museum: a sublime spiritual immersion

I have just spent the last few weeks in Japan discovering the islands of Teshima and Naoshima.

It was a wonderful cultural experience, with incredible installations by well-known, established artists – Christian Boltanski, Pipilotti Rist, Yayoi Kusama and Tobias Rehberger to name a few.

I was fortunate to have no time restriction, as each island requires at least one day to explore and move from one art space or installation to the other.

Naoshima is the most frequented by travellers and is slightly easier to navigate. Teshima was my personal favourite, but a good level of fitness and navigational skills are required as there is a lack of signage.

 

Yayoi Kusama's artwork

Yayoi Kusama's "pumpkin" installation on Naoshima

Transport is by foot or bicycle up the mountain or a very slow bus in which you need to wait a while.

Accommodation is available on the islands and, if staying in Naoshima, Benesse House would have to be the pick.

No photography is permitted in any of the museums or art spaces. It was so refreshing to have people connect to the work rather than their electronic devices connect to it.

On Teshima, the Art Museum was a sublime spiritual immersion into a white cave. The curved walls and opened ceiling created an experience like no other. It has to be experienced to be fully realised. Even if one could take interior photographs the images would not do the building justice.

 

 

Lee Ufan Museum

Lee Ufan Museum: contemplation and meditation

Naoshima was home to several large "pumpkin" installations by Yayoi Kusama and to the Benesse House Museum. An architectural highlight was the Lee Ufan Museum, a collaboration between internationally acclaimed artist Lee Ufan and architect Tadao Ando.

Surrounded by hills, the museum delivered a space for stillness, contemplation and meditation whilst surrounded by the beauty of the natural environment.

If you are looking for an art destination, the Setouchi Triennale will take place on the islands in 2019 and is worth attending!