This is the first post I do without planning it before. Probably it came in the same way I lived the experience: flowing on it.
It was during our recent honeymoon trip to beautiful and wonderful Japan, and under the recommendation of my beloved friend Iem. Visiting Naoshima Island was, since his recommendation, a must, and I after reading and investigating about it, and I was actually quite excited about it. But, as it used to happens to me during all the trip, expectations were overcome.
WHAT WAS IT
“Benesse Art Site Naoshima” is the collective name for all art-related activities on the islands of Naoshima and Teshima in Kagawa Prefecture and on Inujima island in Okayama Prefecture in Japan.
Their fundamental aim is to create significant spaces by bringing contemporary art and architecture in resonance with the pristine nature of the Seto Inland Sea. Then, what you can find in the island is real contact with art pieces – distribuited by the nature and inside houses from the island -, scenerios and inhabitants of Naoshima, getting inspiration from everything you see, feel and breathe.
Benesse Art Site Naoshima’s was originally the vision of two men: Tetsuhiko Fukutake, an art patron who aspired to create a place in the Seto Inland Sea where children from all over the world could gather; and Chikatsugu Miyake, the mayor of Naoshima, who dreamt of developing a cultural and educational area on the island.
“The art, the building and the environment should work together to wake up the viewer.” – Fukutake.
Benesse is derived from the Latin words “bene” (well) and “esse” (being). Benesse House is both a museum and a hotel that offers the opportunity to live with art and dialogue with the works and, as they say in their website, with “yourself”. It is located very close to the main port of the island – they provide a shuttle bus for the guests from the port and all the main spots of the island – and offers probably the most organic – unfortunately also expensive – experience if you want to stay on Naoshima for more than one day.
The House is a facility based on the concept of coexistence among nature, architecture, and art. Contemporary art is displayed not only within the Museum galleries, but also in all parts of the buildings and surrounding area. As a guest you can engage with artworks everywhere you go, digest the experience at your room – with the most astonishing views of the sea plus some art piece -, and emerge to be inspired by art once more.
Benesse House is a place where explore art, nature, architecture, and your own thoughts in a multi-layered and synergistic spot. The complex, intended to blend increasingly into the natural environment of Setonaikai National Park as the years go by, was entirely designed by Tadao Ando. I could write another post more about Ando, but what I most admired from his biography is that has been a self-taught architect – 75 years old now -, with impressives buildings and works designed around Japan, as the one who made me literally cry inside “The Art Project” in the island called Minamidera – if you go, you will probably experience the most exciting 15 minutes of your life -.
The house, the experience is meant to be appreciated with the entire body – natural light is there to weave together the indoors and outdoors – and open mind, because it becomes spiritual since your feet land on the island.
Mucho eco-love (or 愛),