Naoshima, a full day

We hit the ground running for a full day on the island of Naoshima.  We started with breakfast at the Benesse House before checking out the surroundings of the building.  Listening to the water lap up against the shore takes the comfort of many of the installations to another level.  Everyone is very quiet, no shoes in many of the installations, and only a few in at a time.  It works.

This Kusama sits prominently on the shore.

I am now obsessed with the architecture of Tadao Ando.  These concrete rooms are filled with photographs by Hiroshi Sugimoto.  The concrete walls and floors almost shine.  They have been scratched to create texture.  It is so simple and yet so insanely elegant.

Our first stop was the Lee Ufan museum.  We had just seen his latest work at the Lisson gallery in NYC before we got here.  The museum is a collaboration between Ufan and Ando.  A concrete structure housing his paintings and sculptures using nature as a backdrop.  It is truly incredible.

There are public art installations throughout the island.  Here is one large garbage can from the artist Kimiyo Mishima.

The Art House Project is in the town.  You walk around the town stopping at 7 different installations.  Once a fishing village, the stroll through the town gives you a better feeling of life on the island.  Artists have taken empty houses and turned them into art.  Many of the buildings were once lived in.  You get a ticket and get it stamped at each stop.  There are more than a few James Turrell pieces throughout the island.  One piece is part of the Art House Project and of course, Tadao Ando designed the building to accommodate this piece.

The Go’o Shrine dates back to the Edo Period.

The flight to glass stairs go all the way underneath the ground connecting life above ground and death below.

This was the home of the Ishibashi family that was used by the family until 2001.  They were part of the salt making industry which supported Naoshima for years.

This small home has an installation of water with neon numbers that continue to change constantly, again all about the past and the future, life, and death.  This is from the artist Rei Naito who is also the artist we will see tomorrow at the Teshima Museum.

Walking through the town you really get to see some of the beautiful gardens people have.  Here is one that caught my eye.

The Statue of Liberty stands inside this old building that used to be a dentist’s office.

As we walked to lunch we stopped in the local grocery store and picked up some candy.  A local grocery store, like a farmer market, tells you a lot about the community.

Lunch was at Naohima Homura and it was delicious.  This Grandmother’s home was given to her son who turned it into a cafe.  Four women were working the restaurant.  I particularly loved the mixture of coffee cups that they had.

We had the curry dish.  A big mound of rice with soft scrambled egg draped over it and curry around the edges.  Not only was the food good but the vibe in there was so warm, comfortable and inviting.  I have never seen this particular presentation before.  When it came out of the kitchen, these big mounds of rice covered with eggs I was skeptical but wow.

Next museum was the Chichu Art Museum.  Chichu means underground.  There are works there by Claude Monet, James Turrell, and Walter De Maria.  Ando took this place to another level.  The thought about light and concrete are just jaw-dropping.  There are two gardens surrounded by extremely tall concrete walls, one is filled with concrete, the other bamboo.

The Walter De Maria is regal and incredible.  This photo just does not do it justice.

We headed towards the Ando museum that shows how the Chichu Museum was constructed.  Here is a model.  Some serious contractors did this work.

Last stop was the ILOVEU bathhouse.  Feels a bit like you could be in Miami.  This is the local bathhouse, a room for women and a separate one for men.

We went back to Benesse House for a quick rest and then to dinner.  Dinner was at 6.  Nothing to write about when it comes to the food here except that it is not good and overpriced.  Afterward, we wandered around outside to see a few other art installations on the property.

Turning the corner to see this piece by Walter De Maria was a total wow.  Tomorrow, Neshima.

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    I find peace and humanity in large outside pieces like Kusama.There are many in NY and places like Seattle that I gravitate towards whenever I am near them wherever I travel.They are like sirens of perfection to me in quiet or busy places that carry quiet with them.Enjoy and my best to Fred!