Naoshima, the Art Island

febrero 21, 2017

Naoshima Yellow Pumpkin

I realized that I am a deep art lover when I found myself on Naoshima, a remote island in the Seto Inland See of Japan

It was the first day of autumn and it was warm yet. I decided to go there when I picked up lonely planet guide about Japan and found this island, but when we took the first train of our journey to Naoshima I didn't feel sure about my decision, the further we went, the less English and fewer tourist indicatinos we found there and, finally, we took the last ferry to the island in the nick of time. Eventually we arrived, at night, a desert island, where a giant red and black pumpkin received us. 


As soon as the sun rose we woke up, took a shower, had breakfast and rented a bike to go through the island, it’s the best way to see all around the island and without missing anything!
It was too early when we arrived to The Benesse Art House, but it was not a problem, we saw the big yellow Pumpkin from Yayoi Kusama, a symbol of the new way of the island. And we continued to the beach where you can find some sculptures and some pieces of art camouflaged with the surroundings and we got to the exterior of The Lee Ufan Museum, a modern architecture building made of cold cement forming  geometrical lines and big structures.
Finally, we entered the Benesse Museum, a place based on the concept "Coexistence of nature, art and architecture". A great experience where you can see contemporary and modern art in a Tadao Ando building and see the work of some artist like Yves Klein, Cy Twombly, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yasumasa Morimura, Andy Warhol and Gerard Richter. The unfortunate thing was you cannot access to the center of the building if you’re not a guest of the hotel within it, so…we couldn’t see it. 


Naoshima-Go'o Shrine

In my opinion, the greatest part of the island is not the Benesse Museum, but it’s the entire gallery and the pieces of art around the island, like a wooden building designed by Tadao Ando where you can see Minamidera, you go inside the building, enter a completely dark room, take a seat and then a strange sensation about how you see and what is real invades yourself. 
Sites like “I love you”, a public bath which is also an artwork. The Go’O Shrine” which its steps seems ice blocks. “Haisha” a house with a life-size Statue of Liberty inside. Or the traditional Japanese gardens like you find in Gokaisho” or in The Garden of Kū.
These Art Project house makes the island special. 

In the meantime we enjoyed delicious food prepared with fish in a modern restaurant run by a young couple and later a delicious dinner before took the last ferry to our next stop, Osaka. 

Where is the furthest place you have been to enjoy art? Have you ever been to Naoshima? Where is the strangest place you have gone to see art work?

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