Naoshima: A Paradise For Architects [2/3]
This post is the continuation of previously Naoshima: A Paradise of Architects [1/3].
4. Yellow Pumpkin
After getting around Miyanoura Port, we took a shuttle bus to Tsutsuji-so. While waiting for the next bus to Chichu Art Museum, we took short stroll to the famous Yellow Pumpkin sculpture. It was the earlier work by Yayoi Kusama, the same artist who created Red Pumpkin in front of the Naoshima Ferry Terminal. The sculpture sat overlooking the sea in vibrant yellow color with the distinguished black polka dots with blue sky and sea background.
We also found this small torii, a traditional Japanese gate, that overlooked the sea around Tsutsuji-so while we were waiting for our bus to the next destination.
5. Chichu Art Museum
Chichu Art Museum was definitely one of our main architecture destinations to go in Naoshima. As a fan of Tadao Ando, it was a must of visit in the island. We fortunately had reserved the entry ticket online a few weeks ago or we could not enter the museum. It was fully booked and there was a crowd at the reception. Hence, we waited there until the time allocated on our reservation.
The wait did not disappoint us because we could take a look at souvenirs sold in the reception. We also sampled olive doughnuts, the specialty of the island. Moreover, my friends took the waiting time to buy a lot of postcards with Chichu Art Museum pictures because we could not take the photo inside.
Getting inside the complex, we were led to a street with beautiful water lily pond and flower garden beside. The pond was supposed to be reminiscent of Monet’s artwork. In my opinion, the integration of the art and nature was done seamlessly. It was like we entered into the art itself.
Then, we took a short stroll up to the entrance of the museum. I only could see a wall of concrete with an opening at the entrance and nothing else. Obviously the museum was constructed underground, so we could not see the overall building. The whole building was clearly created with exposed concrete, the architecture trademark of Tadao Ando.
The museum was like a long labyrinth where we could experience different space sensations, sights, and feelings inside. I started with a long shadowed tunnel at the entrance with a bit of light at the end of the corridor. Once I stepped out of the tunnel, I saw a rectangular open space with stairs to go upstairs along with grasses that filled the lower space. The grassy mound seemed like an oddity inside the space. I felt confused at first at the sight, but it seemed like the ordinary grass somehow become an artwork inside the space.
There was a gift shop upstairs. Next, I went to another open small corridor leading to an open triangular space with a ramp around it. It might seem like an usual space, but when my friend pointed me to the opening gap with no apparent support, it hit me.
I did not remember the path I took anymore from that point. I remembered to find a room with rows of shoes inside. The museum staff told me to change my shoes to the provided slippers before I was led to another dark room with beautifully laid white mosaics. At the end of the dark room, there was a bright room with large Monet paintings inside.
Not only the artworks were beautiful, but the space was also very well designed. It seemed like an ordinary white room with paintings at first. However, the light above the ceiling actually used natural lighting. The natural lighting made the color of the painting softer and alive. It struck me how detailed the museum was created.
Going out from the Monet room, I saw a queue. I did not where it would lead me to, but I just followed the crowd. At the end of the queue, I ended up with a seating area. People looked up at the sky, so I followed suit. I could see a beautiful white-framed blue sky. The frame was so thin that I thought I was looking at a piece of painting instead of a vast sky.
Then, I went back to queue to the most fun and shocking space I had in Chichu Art Museum, Open Field installation by James Turrell. I were led into an orange-projected room in a small group of 6 people. We faced a stair and blue projection on the wall until the staff told us to go upstairs and went inside the wall. We were confused at first because we were abruptly told to so. Hence, I reached my hands at front and I did not feel any obstruction. It took me some time to process the feeling into my brain. With hesitation, I entered inside the blue projection and the staff led us pretty far from the opening we entered.
The whole experience was mind-blowing. It felt like I entered into the art dimension and the opening was the medium where we could transfer between real world and the dimension. You really have to experience James Turrell’s work in order to understand it.
The last exhibition space I visited was Time/Timeless/No Time by Walter De Maria. It was a big room with stairs, a big black reflective sphere in the middle, as well as huge gold colored wooded geometric forms on the wall. I did not understand much about this one. I just felt like I became Alice in wonderland with how huge the sculptures inside. Moreover, the space felt so unreal that I thought I went inside into another virtual world. After I read about some explanation, it turned out the space was made so that viewers experience this space under the natural light coming from the ceiling, producing dramatic changes in the room’s illumination depending on the hour.
By the time I finished sight seeing the whole building, it was time to catch up our next bus. We only had exactly one hour in the museum, which was clearly not sufficient to enjoy the full exhibitions with leisure. I suggest to put aside 2 hours of your time next time you visit the Chichu Art Museum.