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The Setouchi Triennale 2022, a contemporary art festival held from April 14 to November 6, will host 214 works of art. This article features some of the new and noteworthy pieces of art debuting at the fifth edition of the Triennale.
The Setouchi Triennale 2022, a contemporary art festival held on 12 islands and two ports in the Seto Inland Sea, opened on April 14.
The fifth edition of this art festival features 184 artists from 33 countries and regions. There will be a total of 214 art pieces on display, both old and new.
Due to the travel restrictions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, many artists from overseas instructed the festival staff and volunteers remotely on how to prepare their works, resulting in interesting pieces.
The following is a list of new and noteworthy works that are garnering attention.
“Navigation Room” by Nicolas Darrot (2022)
This artwork was designed as a nautical device to chart routes across an imaginary ocean.
It consists of stick charts, a navigational aid made by sailors of the Marshall Islands using wooden sticks, and one-eyed creatures.
Nicolas Darrot, a French artist, learned about the legend of ogres dwelling on Megijima and was reminded of Homer's "Odyssey," an adventurous tale across the Mediterranean Sea.
The artist added, "Although we cannot travel freely due to COVID-19, we still can connect the Seto Inland Sea and the Mediterranean Sea in our minds."
The artwork re-creates the Odyssey using melodies from a music box and the arbitrary movements of celestial bodies.
“Thrift Shop Duplication Remains” by Junko Gosyo (2022)
Little Shops on the Island Project was launched during the 2019 Setouchi Triennale, handling extraordinary items designed by participating artists.
This artwork is one of these projects where objects collected from the island are embedded into a plaster wall for display and sold.
Some objects have a text illustrating their origin, which relates to the island's history. After the items are sold, the holes in the wall will remain part of the exhibition.
The wall, with imprints of the sold objects, seems to portray the island's history.
“MEGI Fab” by Midori Mitamura (2022)
Midori Mitamura, the artist behind MEGI Fab, creates installations using photographs and images. This ambitious artwork aims to start an original Megijima textile brand.
The shop sells Megijima-themed textile products and items with photographs of the island's scenery printed on them.
The photographs, which are black and white or blue-colored, are covered with geometric patterns. These products featuring a contemporary touch with a nostalgic taste should make beautiful mementos of one's Megijima trip.
“The School Teachers” by Ekaterina Muromtseva (2022)
Ekaterina Muromtseva is a Russian artist based in New York. This artwork depicts various images that come to people's minds when they think about a teacher.
There are other works by the artist at the exhibition, along with drawings of teachers made by the children of Ogijima. The varied images might make visitors wonder what a teacher means to them.
Muromtseva uses a pipette as a brush. The blurred colors help create a whimsical atmosphere by dropping paint on paper.
“No. 105” (2022) by Wang Teyu
An inflatable chair made in the image of a lemon, a local product of the Seto Inland Sea area, is displayed outdoors and inside a deserted factory.
Visitors can either sit on the chair or crawl inside it. The writer had the chance to sit on it, and the feeling was like floating above the clouds.
It is said that sight is used the most among the five senses. But this artwork will make visitors wonder if it might also be interesting to use their other senses.
"Daidaraurutorabou" by Toshimitsu Ito (2022)
The Mito Peninsula, located in the southern part of Shodoshima Island, is a place where visitors can enjoy a great number of art pieces. This is where "Daidaraurutorabou" is located. This work depicts a giant taking a break on the beach; it is 9.5 meters tall and 17 meters wide.
There are various legends about giants worldwide. Most of them are depicted as a symbol of nature or the cosmos.
As the COVID-19 pandemic imposes the power of nature upon us, this giant may be sending a message about how we should interact with our surroundings.
The stone and driftwood composing the body were gathered on the island. The face used to be a vessel utilized in Kangensai, a Shinto ritual conducted at Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima. "Daidaraurutorabou" is said to be named after the image of Ultraman, a giant superhero in the Japanese TV drama known for its special effects.
"Human Home Hermit Crab" by Daisuke Omi (2022)
Like "Daidaraurutorabou," "Human Home Hermit Crab" is found on the Mito Peninsula. The crab settling down by the sea uses a house as its shell.
This work is based on an Okinawan legend about hermit crabs breeding on an island built by deities before humans roamed the earth.
The theme behind "Human Home Hermit Crab," which depicts a crustacean enjoying the sea breeze, might be related to the fate of human beings, just like "Daidaraurutorabou."
"La dance" by Sopheap Pich (2022)
Meiro no Machi (Maze Town) near Tonosho Port is home to many works of art, including the Yokai Art Museum.
La dance is one of them. The artwork was made from aluminum pots and pans collected from recycling shops in Cambodia. The recycled metal was then shaped into crape myrtle trees. The name "La dance" is based on the painting "The Dance" by the famed French painter Henri Matisse.
Most people may not be familiar with Cambodia. But just like the work by Matisse, its citizens are leading a vibrant life. "La dance" depicts the local energy of a country across the ocean.
"POROPORO" by Junko Koshino (2022)
"POROPORO" is an artwork by the famed fashion designer Junko Koshino. It is displayed at the Tonosho Port Art No Show Terminal on Shodoshima Island.
In contrast to the rigid world of humans, nature is filled with round objects, such as ripples in the water or the shape of the earth. This artwork aims to create a new kind of beauty by describing the co-existence of the two worlds rather than merging them.
Although it is an indoor exhibition, the audience might feel the vastness of the ocean beyond the infinite spiral.
"Narcissus Garden" by Yayoi Kusama (1966-2022). Copyright: Yayoi Kusama
Photo: Masatomo Moriyama
This year, a new gallery opened at the Benesse Art Site Naoshima, one of the main venues during the Triennale.
The Benesse House Museum is a complex consisting of a museum and a hotel. In 2022, Valley Gallery became a new addition to this facility.
On display in this ravine-like space are two works of art: Slag Buddha 88 (eighty-eight Buddha statues created using slag from industrial waste at Teshima) by Tsuyoshi Ozawa and Narcissus Garden by Yayoi Kusama. The latter is an installation of spheres with a mirror-finished surface occupying both the interior and exterior of the building designed by Tadao Ando, a renowned architect.
In this gallery, visitors can experience the merging of nature, art, and architecture.
"Place for Sea Dreamers" by Heather B. Swann + Nonda Katsalidis (2022)
A wide variety of artwork can be enjoyed on Teshima Island at the Teshima Art Museum, Les Archives du Coeur, and other venues.
"Place for Sea Dreamers" sits quietly in the Kou District of the island. It is a steel bench made in the image of a fishing net. We took a seat and were surprised by its softness.
This piece of art invites you to sit down and be lost in thought. Of course, all while taking in the view of the cerulean ocean and sky.
“Remains of Shadowing” by Yuma Tomiyasu (2022)
This installation is displayed inside a dilapidated house. Tableware and furniture covered with dust remain inside, illustrating how time has passed since the house was deserted.
After stepping outside, visitors may feel as if they've woken up from a dream.
"Remains of Shadowing" was inspired by a short story titled "The Reconciliation" by Koizumi Yakumo (1850-1904), a Greek-Irish-Japanese author. In the story, a man who could not forget his ex-wife decides to visit her. After spending the night with his former spouse, he finds himself inside a ruin, standing before a skeleton in the morning.
The artwork vividly portrays the dark mood of this story.
"Based on The Story" by Mounir Fatmi (2022)
"Based on The Story" is an artwork utilizing an old hospital that looks like it could appear in a movie. Inside, the artist plays footage of buildings being demolished in a suburb of Paris, France, from 2000 to 2005.
The place of the recording was home to immigrants from 96 countries. While buildings were torn down in such a populated area, the hospital near Uno Port was deserted for nearly 40 years.
This is a work that questions the relationship between buildings and citizens.
"The Red House Wants Communication" by Junya Kataoka + Rie Iwatake (2022)
This is another artwork utilizing an old house set far from the road, barely recognized even by locals.
Various items start moving when visitors step inside, making them wonder whether they're witnessing a poltergeist.
Photographs of how the Uno area used to look in the past are also displayed. It is as if the whole town, including the house, is saying, "Don't forget about our past."
“Honshu Sees Shikoku” by Ayse Erkmen (2022)
Uno Port in Okayama Prefecture once operated as the hub of the Uko Railroad Ferry, connecting the Shikoku islands and Honshu.
"Honshu Sees Shikoku" is made with a stainless steel pipe bent in the shape of the Shikoku region.
While the artwork symbolizes the message, "Don't forget the bond between Shikoku and Honshu," it also seems to be urging people to "create a new bond between communities."
There will be other various works on display at the Setouchi Triennale 2022, both new ones and works that have been around since the previous editions. MATCHA will be posting timely updates regarding new artwork on display.
Please check the article listed below for information about the festival program, passport tickets, and official tours.