Naoshima - the art Island

Naoshima is a small island lying between Honshu and Shokuku in the Seto Sea of Japan. It is also known as the Art Island - home to some remarkable galleries and installations. 

Despite its growing fame, even in glorious autumn sunshine, the tourists are few and the small towns and villages typically Japanese - fishing harbours, local  shops, pristine beaches and none of the detritus of mass tourism. We spent some time in six very different and intriguing art installations in restored houses but could not find breakfast...

The instigators were the Bennese Corporation, a Japanese publishing house, who did a deal with the mayor to finance the building of the first of a number of galleries and installations spread around a fishing village.

Tadao Ando is the prime architect and his work is sparse and beautiful. It is particularly remarkable as he is an autodidact, his early career being a truck driver and boxer. He uses polished concrete blocks to create surfaces of interest and texture and spaces that are peaceful and nuanced while not detracting from the art that is being displayed. I particularly liked the Lee Ufan building where the caligraphic brush strokes of the artist are so in harmony with the architecture.


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