After a few days of travel, I finally arrived at Japanese Seto Inland Sea for a feast of dialogue between artworks and the space in which they are contained, and between human creations and the natural environment. I heard about this Seto art project last year when I was participating Kijimuna Children’s Theater Festival in Okinawa City and while I was doing research on the artworks that remain on the islands, I became increasingly excited about encountering them in person. Naoshima was my first stop.
From Yayoi Kusama’s red pumpkin gazing at the islands afar besides Miyanoura port to six House projects sitting quietly among other local houses, I felt that the boundary between space and object, museum and artwork, container and its content starts to fade. The relation between the object and the space makes both of them parts of an integral artwork: the walls and floors of the house become textured canvases, directional narratives or three-dimensional sculptures. The house contains objects of art as it is made of these objects. It pushes me to continue to think the book as a more literal architectural space: the media not only serves or corresponds to the content but becomes an integral part of the work itself.
Another piece of House project consists of a newly built wooden house inserted in the middle of reminiscent statues of an ancient shrine and a modern glass ladder in contrasts with the mossy stones coming up from the underground cave that can only be seen at the end of a walk through a narrow tunnel with a flashlight. The art object stands in place of the disappeared shrine architecture and the underground design invites a discovery of not only the glass ladder, but also the surrounding space of mountain and sea, and the history and memory that emerges from the depth of our mind. I wonder if the book space can become something similar, a functional presence, a directional discovery and a metaphor rooted in its own architecture.