CHICHU ART MUSEUM, NAOSHIMA ISLAND, JAPAN

Works by Claude Monet, Walter De Maria, and James Turrell form the permanent collection at the Tadao Ando-designed Museum. A subterranean space surrounded by the scenic Inland Sea, the museum invites consideration of our relationship with nature.

Visitors can view five Monet paintings that are made visible entirely by natural lighting while being underground. The size, design and materials of the room were selected to unite the Monet paintings and the space. Included works are from Monet’s later life “Water Lily” series, originally produced for the grand decoration at the Musée de l’Orangerie.

De Maria created a space defined by specific measurements. In the space, he places a 2.2m diameter sphere and 27 wooden sculptures covered with gold leaves. With its entrance located on the east side, the work’s appearance constantly changes from sunrise to sunset.

The works of James Turrell present light itself as art. Arranging the intended viewing experience involved tailoring these rooms to Turrell’s own specifications. There representative works spanning Turrell’s career are on display.

The main construction materials in the architecture of Tadao Ando are concrete, steel, glass and wood. Chichu Art Museum incorporates these four materials in a design that is extremely reduced. Ando limited the architecture only to an underground structure and refused to have an exterior design rising out of the ground.

G.F

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