Art House Project, Art meets Past on Naoshima Island

2019年 09月30日

In the district of Honmura on the island of Naoshima, the Benesse foundation, which is also at the origin of the many museums of the island, initiated in 1998 the Art House Project. The latter had a goal similar to the Benesse House built a few years earlier, to revitalize the island whose population was declining, and which suffered from its industrial past by promoting art and culture instead.

Haisha, an old dental clinic renovated by Shinro Ohtake

The project consists, in a certain way, of sustaining the island's past by reinventing it with art installations. There are now seven different houses invested by contemporary artists, mostly Japanese. Here is a short description in the order of their creation:

  • Kadoya (1998) : In a house more than two centuries old, you can admire a work of Tatsuo Miyajima which consists of an accumulation of figures that change according to a special rhythm decided in collaboration with the inhabitants of the island

  • Minami-dera (1999) :  built on the ruins of an ancient temple that was important for the religious life of the island, the building is the result of the collaboration between artist James Turrell and architect Tadao Ando, who built many other sites on the island. The work of the American artist offers a reflection on light and perception of space by the viewer. 

  • Kinza (2001) : the Japanese artist Rei Naito, whose work can also be seen at the Teshima Art Museum, offers an immersive work where spectators can only enter one by one with a time limit of fifteen minutes per person.

  • The Go’o Shrine (2002) : the artist Hiroshi Sugimoto rehabilitated this small shrine of the Edo period by proposing a glass staircase symbolically uniting the earth and the sky.

  • Ishibashi (2006) : home of a salt merchant, the building is more than a hundred years old.Nowadays, you can see paintings by Hiroshi Senju including a mural painted directly on the walls of the house. 

  • Gokaisho (2006) : IIslanders used to gather in this house to play go. The artist Yoshihiro Suda decided to sow false camellia flowers in the place, questioning the idea of ​​original and copy as an actual camelia tree in planted in the house's garden.

  • Haisha (2006) : The name of this house literally means "dentist" because it was once the home and workplace of one of them. Now a true museum of kitsch, it has been designed by Shinro Ohtake, who was also the designer for the Naoshima Public Baths (I ♥ 湯)

              Sanctuaire Go'o                                              Minami-dera                                                      Haisha

The Art House Project really is the perfect opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in both traditional Japanese culture and contemporary artistic production.

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