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Naoshima Art-Island
Okayama and surrounding
Architecture,  Culture, Traditions, Folklore,  Unusual places,  Museums, Galleries, Exhibitions,  Monuments, Sculptures
Culture, Traditions, Folklore, 
Unusual places

A small island in the Inland Sea is a contemporary art and design center of Japan that attracts lovers of beautiful things from all over the world. Everywhere you can see art-objects, galleries, sculptures, museums, unusual buildings and installations.

The history of this art-island started in the 1980s. The truly historic meeting of two talented people – Soichiro Fukutake and Tadao Ando – gave that small and unremarkable island a second breath.

The idea of creating an international children’s camp took second place when they came up with a new idea – to build a museum of contemporary art on the island. In 1992, the world's first hotel-museum «Benesse House» (the name means «wellness» in Latin) was created. Its conception was as follows: «coexistence of nature, art and architecture».

Concrete monoliths, labyrinths of halls reflect the core of Japanese minimalism in the best way. They also perfectly blend with the landscape. Everything there is in harmony, things complete each other.
There are 4 main museums on the island: Benesse House, Chichu Art Museum, the museum of a Korean artist and sculptor Lee Ufan and the museum of Tadao Ando.

A project for preserving traditional Japanese houses «Benesse Art House» started in the 1990s. Abandoned houses of the island were bought back and were offered to artists for placing their art-objects. The interesting fact is that installations and paintings are not bought, but are created just for museums.

The creators believe that contemporary art is able to change a life. Everything on the art-island has a sense and a hidden meaning. So visitors should find it when they come to museums and art-objects of the island.

Soichiro Fukutake sometimes invites some famous contemporary artists as guests on the island. He asks them to create something that they would like and place it where they want. That is a win-win for everyone since its realization satisfies everyone. Different types of art – starting with architecture and kinetic figures to miniatures and sophisticated light performances – are collected there. That is why it is called an art-island. There you will find everything that can be called contemporary art.

Address: Naoshima

Published by

Oksana Shmakova

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