At the 2010 inauguration of the Setouchi Triennale (the third edition of which is now running until November 6th), which takes place across the three islands, Fukutake noted that art was not necessarily the main focus of the festival. “We hope to create a community in which art helps local people to smile again, and causes people from the cities to envy them,” he once said. “The most important artwork that we hope to create through the festival is the revitalization of the region.”
Naoshima was the birthplace of Fukutake’s artistic vision, and it is the most famous island of those in Seto Inland Sea, thanks to the three museums housed there—all of which are designed by renowned architect
—and a number of public artworks residing there, including ’s
iconic, solitary Pumpkin
. Compared to Naoshima, Teshima enjoys a much lower profile. Its population is less than one-third of Naoshima’s, and it lacks blockbuster artworks to draw people’s attention. But perhaps the island does not need another Pumpkin
, as Teshima Art Museum itself is a magnificent artwork.
Once visitors arrive on the island, the journey to the museum begins with a bus ride that drops passengers off on top of the hill overlooking the sea. Museum-goers walk down a winding path, passing by terraced paddy fields, before reaching the museum. They must follow a pathway around a hilly slope, with the sea on the right and the island’s intense greenery on the left, to reach the exhibition space. This passage is a zen-like experience that cleanses busy minds, preparing them to enter Teshima’s shrine to art.
The museum is made up of two parts—a bead-shaped concrete building punctuated by two big holes, and a dome-like structure housing the museum shop and cafe. According to architect Nishizawa, instead of building a massive structure that would impose on the breathtakingly gorgeous vistas, he produced designs that were inspired by the contours of the island. The resulting building creates a profound feeling of harmony with the surrounding landscape.