The Art of the Seto Sea: the success of the Setouchi Triennale for this first spring session 2019

2019年 06月21日

"The restoration of the sea" is the theme of this new edition of the Setouchi Triennale that began in the spring of 2019. It reminds us of the very origins of the festival, which aimed to make the islands of the Seto Inland Sea abandoned by its inhabitants after the industrial collapse that once polluted this part of Japan. Tadao Ando, the famous architect and Benesse corporation, began renovating old abandoned buildings, designing museums, making this beautiful natural environment a sacred place of contemporary art. It was originally Naoshima, then the art spread quickly through the territories of the Seto inland sea, on twenty islands and in several cities in the region.
The Seto Sea is made up of one of the most famous archipelagos in the world, surrounded by Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu and includes more than 700 islands and 7230 kilometers of coastline.
From April 26th to May 26th was held the spring session of the triennial, this time including the more remote islands of Teshima and Honjima. This year, the festival hosts 213 works of the art, including 90 novelties presented by 225 artists from more than 32 regions worldwide. The festival welcomed nearly 380,000 visitors to the spring session with around 14,000 visitors a day, 1.4 times more than three years ago. Indeed, this year, the triennial took place during a part of Golden Week, the consecutive holidays in Japan, which this year was particularly long. The most visited islands were Naoshima, Shodoshima, Teshima and also the city of Takamatsu which was also in the spotlight for the opening of the festival.
Benesse house, Naoshima museum and view of the Seto Sea
This year, the remarkable work of the Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich, exhibited in the Megijima island, "The presence of absence", is a renovated house concealing many visual effects and illusions. The island of Ogijima, nicknamed "Labyrinth Island" for its very narrow lanes, welcomes the German artist Sarah Westphal and her work "The Sea Within", a landscape of light and shade, reflecting the island history; we see a gigantic tentacle squid haunting the table. In Ogijima, there is always the pleasure of admiring again the work of Keisuke Yamaguchi "the walking Ark" and "the bottles of memory" of Mayumi Kuri.
Traditional Sanuki dance was also performed in Takamatsu on May 26th. This dance is known as "Shishimai (the lion dance)", where dancers carry a gigantic lion head made by woods while wearing multicolored fabrics.
The soul of Ogijma by the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa: permanent work where the island's visitor center is located.

What information to be remembered for the summer and fall to come?

The next summer edition will take place from July 19 to August 25, and will be a week longer than the spring edition, the time to discover many artists and enjoy walks in the beautiful nature. The Uno port will welcome this year the new outdoor project of Noriyuki Haraguchi, a gigantic work of art based on geometry in the space installed in the park at the seaside.
Also, one never tires of the work of young talent Yasuaki Igarashi is more than promising with his work Sora-Ami: Knitting the Sky: a work created with fishing net of several colors woven by the fishermen and the inhabitants of 12 islands of the Seto inland Sea. This work shows how art on the Seto inland Sea seeks to revive community spirit in the region.
See you next summer or fall to admire it on the island of Shamijima, which was very visited in the spring.
The project "Art house" which consists of renovating old abandoned houses and making them the art works, a festival must-have
The last session will take place from September 28 to November 4, and will be added to the art works of the many plays including Shodoshima on the theme of the creation of an island. In Takamatsu there will be a theatrical performance of Safari.P, based on the famous novel: The great notebook written by the Swiss writer Agota Kristof in 1986.
The festival will also organize sales of second-hand art books.

Note that this 2019 edition of the triennale has opened up to various artistic forms and that each edition will bring its novelties, but also transform the grandiose landscape of the islands of the Seto Sea.
So, rent a bike, cross the quiet and pleasant countryside of these little bits of land full of history and tradition
and stop to contemplate the many works that await you.

Click here to discover our guided tours in the Seto inland Sea!

Click here to discover our self-guided tour in the Seto inland Sea!