Escapade in the Empire of Signs
On our way to the Setouchi Triennale, we took a detour through Japan, where the landscape becomes a showcase for artwork. Shapes and colors are highlighted by hills, bamboo, and sea which offer the slow pace and peace favorable to contemplation. This trip to Japan is a beautiful illustration of what Henry Moore used to say:« Sculpture is an art of the open air. »
We first stop at the Hakone Open-Air Museum (Chôkaku No Mori Bijustsuku), which opened in 1969 in the Mount Fuji region, about 60 miles south of Tokyo. The Chôkaku No Mori Bijustsuku Museum is an invitation to stroll among approximately a hundred sculptures facing a hilly and mountainous views.
Here, visitors meet Rodin, Maillol, Niki de Saint Phalle’s Miss Black Power (1968), Dubuffet, Miró and most of all one of the world’s greatest collection of works by Henry Moore. Don’t be afraid to get lost in nature to enjoy stumbling upon Gabriel Loire’s symphonic sculpture or Arnoldo Pomodoro’s Sphere Whithin Sphere.
Our second stop is Isamu Noguchi’s (1904-1988) Garden Museum. Sculptor, garden creator and designer in the « Mingei » spirit, everyone is familiar with his Akari lamps, sculptures made of light. In the village of Mure, located in the Takamitsu district, the artist’s garden and studio host a hundred and fifty works: bronze and majestic granite sculptures. Fulfillment of the artist’s wishes, the museum is an extension of the Noguchi Museum in New York. Isamu Noguchi is burried in the village of Mure, surrounded by his creations.
Our last stop is the Setouchi Triennale 2016, which will run through September 4th on the twelve islands of the Seto Inland Sea. This endeavor, which consists in scattering contemporary art over the land in order to promote this forsaken region, started on Naoshima island, which greets us with Yayoi Kusama’s giant pumpkin. Noashima is the result of the vision and will of businessman Soichiro Fukutate who envisioned three contemporary art museums designed by architect Tadao Ando and, on the beach, a large sculpture park which hosts a circle of rocks by Cai Guo-Qiang, Dan Graham’s Cylinder Bisected by Plane, and a series of animals by Niki de Saint Phalle, among others. Naoshima had “little sisters” and this triennale offers international exposure to these small islands and to the artworks they shelter, some of them permanently.
Hakone Open-Air Museum
1121 Ninotaira, Hakone, Préfecture de Kanagawa
Tel +81 (0)46 082 1161
Open everyday 9 AM to 5 PM from March to November and 9 AM to 4 PM from December to February. 5 minutes walk to Chôkoku no mori station. The station is on the Hakone Tozan line, 30 minutes away from Hakone-Yumoto.
Isamu Noguchi Museum
3519 Mure, Mure-cho, Takamatsu
Tel +81 (0) 87 870 1500
Open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, Guided tours 10 AM, 1 PM and 3 PM