Wednesday, 29 February 2012

A trip to Naoshima

 While Laura was visiting, we managed to fit in a trip down to Naoshima, one of many islands situated on an inland sea south of Osaka. It is famous for its collection of art museums, as well as for art house projects dotted around the Honmura district of the island. There are also two massive dotty pumpkin sculptures, designed by the famous Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. You can watch this clip here to get a feel for the artist. 

We stayed in a beautifully modern hotel called Benesse House in a quiet area overlooking the sea. The wonderful thing was that the hotel was also an art museum, so we were surrounded by art wherever we went.

I think the highlight for us was the Monet waterlily collection housed in a white marble room in the Chichu Museum, another concrete structure, hidden into the hills of Naoshima and beautifully designed. It was an ethereal moment and even brought tears to my eyes! We weren't allowed to take photos, but you can check out the website here.

One pumpkin met us at the port in Naoshima as we came in on the ferry, the other was situated near Benesse House hotel and sat solidly on a jetty, jutting out into the sea.

Benesse House had its own gallery that houses many artworks by famous artists. We were bemused by this installation which we thought was a selection of rogue weeds that had found their way into the crevices....
A central hallway let in light.
Mud from the river Avon.

A beautiful airy space showing off the collection of artwork.

An ominous, red-suited army.

The kitchen at Benesse House hotel.

A 6 course French meal was included in our room and much enjoyed!

A much needed cocktail.

The corridors of Benesse House hotel. I love the use of light vents at the bottom of the wall, that let in natural light. A lot of the museums were designed like this, with interesting ways of letting the light in where it becomes a piece of art.

Black and white photos lit up with light boxes.

The view from the roof of Benesse House.

As well as the galleries situated in and around Benesse House, there were also the Art House projects where a selection of artists had used old Japanese houses as spaces to create art installations. They were all situated near each other and we got to each one by bicycle that we hired for the day.

This project used an old shrine and used glass steps (that looked like ice) leading up to it instead of the traditional stone ones.

We were given torches and ushered down this rather claustrophobic tunnel that lead under the shrine.

At the end of the tunnel we found these rather creepy steps that mirrored the ones above.

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