Within the string of small islands sandwiched between Honshu and Shikoku, there lies a very special island of magic and creativity. It’s name is Naoshima (直島). This beautiful island is filled to the brim with modern art and natural beauty, as well as interesting people from all over the world who have an inclination for such things. The island features works by Tadao Andō, Claude Monet, Yukinori Yanagi, James Turrell, Jasper Johns, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol, and Hiroshi Sugimoto, to list a few. Pictured above is a giant pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama, which has sort of become a symbol for the island itself.
The most magnificent of the many museums on the island in my opinion is the Chichu Art museum. The museum was designed by Japanese architect Tadao Andō and is built almost entirely out of concrete, metal, and wood. The museum has an air that seems to transcend humanity and one feels like they are on some sort of space outpost on a very faraway planet. In one exhibition room one takes of their shoes and puts on sterile slippers to traverse a floor composed entirely of small perfectly polished white marble stones. One rounds the corner into the enormous main hall and is exposed to a painting of a pond by Monet that is the size of a small whale. This white hall is clean and minimalistic, and in the soft light one feels like they are inside of the brain of Steve Jobs/an Apple computer or inside Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A space Odyssey. There are only 4 exhibits in the entirety of this museum and they all work together in their minimalism to create a truly profound experience.