Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Towada Art Center: All Art, Inside & Out
Written by Keisuke Yamada
Check out the Towada Art Center, located in Towada City, Aomori Prefecture. It displays works by Yayoi Kusama, Yoshitomo Nara and many other contemporary artists from Japan and abroad!
Visiting local museums while traveling, such as the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (21世紀美術館) in Kanazawa or the Hara Museum ARC (ハラ ミュージアム アーク) in Gunma, is one highly recommended way to enjoy your trip in Japan.
My idea of traveling most definitely involves visiting a museum, that is why the following article is all about the Towada Art Center (十和田市現代美術館), located in Aomori (青森), where visitors can enjoy various works of art, even outside the museum.
The Towada Art Center, conceived as "an open space for providing new experiences," opened on April 26th, 2008. Its collection includes works by world-renowned artists, such as Yayoi Kusama (草間彌生) and Ron Mueck.
There is an independent exhibition room for each work of art and the rooms are connected by glass-walled corridors. Due to this design, the museum's exterior looks like a small town. The visitors can stroll through the exhibition rooms as if they were taking a walk in town.
The Indoor Exhibitions
Here are some of the works of art, located inside the museum.
"Zobop" by Jim Lambie
This is the floor of the entrance lobby, where visitors buy their tickets. It can be seen from the streets through the window, creating a unique space which is neither a painting nor a sculpture.
"Bridge of Light" by Ana Laura Alaez
This is a light-filled, tunnel-like work of art and visitors can step inside it. As it is accompanied by quiet background sounds, the visitors can experience a meditative state, while surrounded by the sound and light.
"Cause and Effect" by Do Ho Suh
The ceiling height of this exhibition room is nine meters, the tallest in the museum, and features tens of thousands of human figures made from resin hanging from the ceiling; the figures are facing in all directions.
As you can see from the photograph, the red and white figures look like they are riding on each other's shoulders, creating quite an enigmatic sight.
The illuminated figures shining like a chandelier represents the happiness of life. At the same time, they also represent metempsychosis, a philosophy that states that life and death are two sides of the same coin.
The Outdoor Exhibitions
The following works of art are located outside the museum.
"Flower Horse" by Jeong Hwa Choi
This work is located by the museum entrance. The grandiose, colorful body of the horse is said to represent the various flowers found blooming on the streets each season as well as the prospering Towada City.
"Fat House and Fat Car" by Erwin Wurm
Up close, visitors can recognize these works as an obese car and house, with a Western-style garden. Normally, houses and cars do not gain weight, but by making them go through that process, the artist intends to question our sense of normality.
"Love Forever, Singing in Towada" by Yayoi Kusama
Eight sculptures of pumpkins, mushrooms, dogs and a little girl, all covered in Yayoi Kusama's signature polka-dots. The lively-looking works of art add vitality to the Towada cityscape.
"Ghost and Unknown Mass" by Inges Idee
White and amorphous, only the large black holes near the top suggest that it might be a ghost. Visitors will be surprised by the actual size of this piece, as it is quite large in person.
This work of art is drawn on the museum's courtyard wall.
YOROSHIKU GIRL 2012 by Yoshitomo Nara
The creative mind behind this piece is Yoshitomo Nara (奈良美智), a famous Japanese artist. The determined look in the girl's eyes really grips the visitors' hearts.
This work can also be seen from inside of the museum, making it fun to take photographs with it from various angles.
At the Towada Art Center, visitors can appreciate art right from the time they buy their tickets as the museum is filled with works of art, both inside and out. Indeed, some people come to Aomori just to visit this museum. If you are a fan of contemporary art, the Towada Art Center is worth a visit.
Towada Art Center
Address: Aomori, Towada-shi, Nishi-Nibanchō 10-9
Hours: 9:00 - 17:00
Closed: Mondays. If Monday happens to be a national holiday, the museum will be closed on Tuesday.
The museum is also closed during the Year-End and New Year holidays.
Wi-Fi: Available in the cafe and Art Square.
Credit Cards: -
Menus in Other Languages: Available
Access: Forty-minutes ride on the Towada Kankō Dentetsu bus 十和田観光電鉄バス from the Shichinohe-Towada Station (七戸十和田駅). The bus leaves from bus stop 1 at Minamiguchi (南口, south exit) of the station (fare: 650 yen)
One-hour and fourteen-minutes ride on the Towada Kankō Dentetsu bus from Hachinohe Station (八戸駅). The bus leaves from the Higashiguchi (東口, east exit) of the station. (fare: 1,250 yen)
1,000 yen for both the special and permanent exhibitions.
600 yen for the special exhibitions.
510 yen for the permanent exhibitions.
Official Website: Towada Art Center (Multilingual)