Shodoshima is the largest island of the Setouchi Triennale which makes it very difficult to see all of the art in a single day. Shodoshima requires several days to see everything and various modes of transportation. While I couldn’t see all of the art, the following is all of the art I was able to see.
069 – Gift of the Sun
Gift of the Sun is a beautiful work done by Choi Jeong Hwa. It is right at the port and you can’t miss it. It is one of the first things you see when you arrive and a great beacon for the island. Tonosho is the busiest port in Shodoshima and this wreath of gold is a beautiful addition with a beautiful message. Each leaf of the wreath has various messages and dreams from the children of Shodoshima. It has been around since 2013 and it is one of my favourite artworks as it really plays well with the ferries and sea in the background.
070 – ART no SHOW TERMINAL
ART no SHOW TERMINAL is the terminal building for Tonosho with an exhibit by Junko Koshino/Atelier OMOYA. Junko Koshino is a fashion designer who designed various outfits that are supposed to be in the building, and Atelier OMOYA is an art group that helped build the art around that idea. The free art is on the first floor which is a couple of drums next to a large motif with a white cloth on it. As you play the drums, air is forced through the sheet to make it come alive. The second floor is a small exhibit and while it was supposed to showcase the designs of Junko Koshino, when I was there it had discs with drawings from the kids of Shodoshima on them. It is still a fun place to visit and the drums are a lot of fun.
072 – Maze Town – Phantasmagoric Alleys
Maze Town – Phantasmagoric Alleys is a very fascinating work done by “Me” (pronounced “may”). “Me” is a group of artists that converted a couple houses into an art maze. The trick to this artwork is that it consists of 2 houses. Tonosho was designed to be maze like with its streets so you really need to know where you are going. Even those who have been there several times get lost. It is really worth visiting and I won’t go into any other details here except to say that you need a good curious mind to enjoy it.
073 – Oiwa Island 2
Oiwa Island 2 is a returning artwork from 2013 by Oscar Oiwa. It was originally on a different island in 2013 but it has moved to Shodoshima’s Tonosho town area and hopefully it will be permanently here. The artwork is amazing and it is finally complete. In 2013, it wasn’t 100% complete so Oscar Oiwa did the final touches for the 2016 Triennale. It is essentially a big plastic globe that you go into to enjoy. There is a path to the entrance and when you enter the room you are suddenly transported into a new world. Everything was done by markers and it is his second artwork with the same medium. It was amazing to be in there and it would have been much better if it wasn’t so hot in the summer. It does require revisits to really enjoy it and appreciate the little details of everything.
078 – Someone’s Coming!
“Someone’s Coming!” by Pors & Rao is a delightful work that really melds technology and art. Utilizing the idea that the artwork is alive, you enter a nondescript house where you see white walls and white paintings with natural light coming in. Suddenly you hear whispers and see movement as if spirits are in the room. I won’t say more for this short description except to say that it was well worth the trip and even with the remote location, I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.
074 – Voyage through the Void
Voyage through the Void by Nobuho Nagasawa is a very peaceful and contemplative work. I had a lot of expectations for this artwork and I probably set myself up for disappointment. The artwork looks beautiful in photos and photos are not allowed inside the artwork. I really appreciated it because you do get to lie down in the boat and contemplate whatever you wish to contemplate. The glowing blue boat with the sound of the ocean in a room with no lights was a great way to consider a lot of things. I wish I could go there for hours but with a line building outside, I didn’t want to be too selfish.
075 – Shishigaki Island
Shishigaki Island is a strange artwork by Masato Saito. The artwork can be literally translated into “Deer Fence Island” which is literally what the artwork is. It is a deer and wild boar fence made of stone and taking in the original construction designs of the original fence that was built 200 years ago. Obviously they rebuilt it and a lot of the new ideas incorporate Mr. Saito’s imaginative ideas. I unfortunately found this design to be too strange yet I still thought it was interesting.
077 – Dream of Olive
Dream of Olive by Wang Wen Chih is an artwork I had been anticipating to visit for a long time. This is the 3rd iteration of the artwork and each Triennale they build a new one. From the photos I have seen, the artwork from 2013 looked amazing and the 2016 version seemed simpler. When you see it from afar, it looks stunning with the rice fields in the backdrop. The dome may look simple but it is anything but. I think for those who have seen the more intricate designs of the past Triennale’s, you may be disappointed but I was still amazed and the bamboo was heaven on my tired feet as I got a free massage.
080 – Imagination and Insect cage
Imagination and Insect cage is a creepy artwork by Daisuke Omi. I had no idea what I was getting into as I didn’t research the Mito Peninsula when I went. When I went into the dark brick factory, I was stunned by the insects. Mr. Omi is a good craftsman who carved several insects out of wood. These aren’t your life sized carvings either; these are huge ones that are the size of a small person. The darkness of the factory adds a little creepiness and mystery to everything but it seems to work for this artwork. The old men who were watching over the art were talking about each of the insects and helping us to understand what they were, but not why they were.
081 – Mt.Dan Archaeological Site
Mt.Dan Archaeological Site is a really cool outdoor artwork by Hiroko Kubo. The artist created several wire frame and net sculptures in the middle of 3 fields. There may have been more but I didn’t notice them as part of the artwork. It was part of an “imaginary tale of an ancient civilization once existing on Mt. Danyama”. I don’t know this imaginary tale so I was completely lost on the meaning, but the pieces were really fun from the smelly feet to the wild boar. Don’t forget to go inside the artwork to get a better experience.
071 – Tsugi-Tsugi-Kintsugi
Tsugi-Tsugi-Kintsugi is a very wonderful work by Masayuki Kishimoto. Kintsugi is a Japanese art form of using gold to mend broken cups and dishes. Mr. Kishimoto took old discarded household ceramics and glued them together to form orbs and towers using the kinstugi technique. While the photos make it look simple, the peace and quiet within the room accompanied by the intricate detail used to make each object was amazing to see. I hope the work continues into the future although the location was a bit difficult to reach.
091 – Shodoshima Gelato Recipes Project by The Island Lab
Shodoshima Gelato Recipes Project by The Island Lab is a project by graf+FURYU. graf is a “creative unit” and by that definition I would say the work on creating ideas. They do things from music to architecture and really contemplate the entire experience. The Gelato Project is really just a bunch of gelato recipes in an old building. I would imagine graf created the building design and FURYU runs the operations and creates the gelato. FURYU is actually a local Italian restaurant nearby and they are responsible for the daily operations. The building itself sells more gelato and coffee than anything else but the panini are delicious too.
092 – Haragei
Haragei is a set of contemporary drawings and paintings by Sarnath Banerjee. I was not expecting anything when I went to the artwork and I came away with no real feelings. The artwork is a bunch of drawings and paintings of everyday life and how people interact with each other, yet they have their own lives. Think of it as looking into the lives of each person on a bus and seeing how different each of them lives, yet they are all on the same bus. I would love to revisit it again as I was just so hot that I could barely remember what I was doing, but upon reflection it was more interesting than I remember.
093 – Komame-tei
Komame-tei by Satoshi Murakami is a very curious artwork. The artist has spent many years living in a styrofoam house and has used this to create a living art where he lives in various simple shacks. In spring, he lived in this artwork and survived on only the food he was given. He kept all of the bottles of water and other such items as a record on what he needed for the month as well as photos and short writings about what his day was like. I was intrigued by how much he used but more intrigued by how much you can read about his personality looking at what was there. David Billa was able to meet him and from what he wrote, I assume that Satoshi isn’t very sociable. Based on the record inside the shack, he seemed to only have photos taken with women, and somewhat cute ones too. While not very sociable, he does like women and seems to have other motives that keep him entertained.
094 – stone island’s stone
“stone island’s stone” was supposed to be completed for the summer session, but Hideyuki Nakayama was unable to have it completed in time. When I visited, there was nothing more than an empty lot and a little construction happening. I have a friend who attended a lecture by Mr. Nakayama and was able to meet him in Tokyo. From what I learned, Mr. Nakayama wants to use stones from the island in order to keep them on the island. The structure is supposed to be a washroom, if I’m not mistaken, and it uses stones from the same area that were used to help construct Osaka castle. Osaka castle used a lot of rocks from Shodoshima and Mr. Nakayama wants to keep these stones on the island. It sounds very intriguing and I’d love to see it in the next Triennale.
095 – Revenants
“Revenants” is a weird artwork by Sahej Rahal. I don’t have too much information on this artwork and I couldn’t find much information anywhere. From what I heard, via David Billa, the artist wants us to make our own decisions and didn’t want people to know his own personal thoughts. I love the idea but I found the artwork to be curious. It is a series of objects that are covered in what I can only imagine to be mud or something similar. The objects are in a warehouse and you just look at them. Based on the guidebook, I was expecting a lot more but I missed the performance which was in spring. Do not miss the small room next to the entrance that pretty much everyone seems to miss as there were some extra artworks there. It was much smaller and looked like bones had been scattered in the room.
096 – Hut with the Arc Wall
Hut with the Arc Wall is a crappy artwork by Yo Shimada. Sorry, this is a very bad pun and if you have seen this artwork, you will understand what I mean. Hut with the Arc Wall is literally a washroom. It is a simple wood roof on wood supports with a concrete wall to divide the men and women’s rooms. I didn’t have any problems with the design and I thought it was a beautiful building but I was let down because it was “just a toilet”. Visiting the artwork when I did, I was not in the right mind and I would love to give it a second chance.
098 – Regent in Olives
Regent in Olives by Hisakazu Shimizu is a very cool artwork. It is an artwork that I had been longing to see for a long time, since 2013. If you don’t know, regent is the name of a hairstyle where you take long hair and you send it out as far forward as you can. Think Elvis Presley, just crazier, or if you have seen the rockabilly dancers in Yoyogi Park on weekends, that is the style. The artwork itself is a simple egg with a regent in an olive grove. It sounds simple and it is, but it is very fun. They even have regent wigs to wear if you want to take a photo with it.
099 – Shodoshima Island Lab
Shodoshima Island Lab is an empty artwork by graf at the time of writing this. I went to this artwork in the summer session which meant it was closed. I saw the house and there was a little information on what was supposed to happen but unfortunately it is not opening till autumn. I have heard it is a great piece from 2013 and they will evolve it for 2016. I am sad that I cannot go but I am happy that I was in the area as I could see a lot of the area that I never would have seen otherwise.
100 – Umaki camp
Umaki camp by dot architects is a really cool concept. It is basically a couple buildings that are a kitchen and community centre in one. The camp was built for 2013’s Triennale and they even had some of the local grandmas cooking for people. When I visited, it was just a building where you can sit down, relax, have lunch, and cook if you want. There is free wifi and you can do a lot of things while you are there. There isn’t a lot to interest you outside of using the facilities as a place for lunch but you can easily appreciate what it is for.
101 – Peanuts Hut
Peanuts Hut is a really beautiful tea house in the middle of a forest designed by Nagisa Kidosaki Semminer, of the Kyoto University of Arts and Design. This artwork is in conjunction with #102 and you have to go around to the back of the old building to reach this tea house. As you walk, you really need to think about what you are doing. There are large bees and tons of mosquitoes in the area. I was bitten several times on my way there. Thankfully the tea house has screens to keep most bugs out but they will go in. The artwork is not very popular so I was lucky to have it all to myself. The view out the window was very peaceful and the artwork inside helped as well. Definitely something I want to visit again when the weather isn’t so hot.
102 – What are we?
“What are we?” is basically a simple art gallery for Sosa Joseph. Taking over the former soy sauce industry hall, the walls are adorned with artwork from Ms. Joseph. She is also supposed to be in residence but I did not see her when I visited and I didn’t see any clues that she was there. Perhaps she was in residence for the spring edition only. While I think her artwork is interesting and I would love to learn more about her and her work, I couldn’t help but feel it didn’t fit with the entire festival. She is definitely talented but I felt like this was nothing more than a regular art gallery for a single artist.
103 – Atem
Atem is equal parts theatre and equal parts indie film. Yukiko Sasaoka is the mastermind behind this amazing work. The artwork is actually 2 rooms and it is basically a gallery for Ms. Sasaoka’s works. She makes videos using puppets while digitally superimposing faces of actors along with other CG work. It is very difficult to tell you what is going on but the work is very surreal. It is funny and strange and it somehow works well. If you don’t understand Japanese, or you don’t really like the look, you probably won’t like it. Thankfully the main video, Icarus, is subtitled in both Japanese and English making it much easier to understand what is going on.
097 – Follow the rules
“Follow the rules” by Kurosaki Kaori is a very lovely exhibit. Taking place in a couple of houses in a small complex across from “Regent in Olives”, this is an artist in residence artwork. When you enter, you will see the artist’s workshop to the right and you may see some of the art in progress. As you move behind the main building, you will be allowed to visit 3 other locations. The first one you see is a couple of blackboards. I am not 100% sure what it is for but you can write messages as you feel fit. The other two buildings, or store houses, are where Ms. Kurosaki’s art resides. From what I read, she creates a computer graphic as a template and then she hand paints all of the works based on that printout. It makes things really interesting and I really liked the idea and her work.
104 – The memorial garden of Sakae Tsuboi
The memorial garden of Sakae Tsuboi is exactly what it says. It is a memorial garden for Sakae Tsuboi, the author of 24 Eyes. The site is where she was born, but I believe it is just her family’s house. It had been razed in the past and they wanted to do something to honour her, so they created this memorial garden. In the centre is an olive tree with several flower beds around it. It is a nice garden but aside from the historical significance, I really didn’t see any connection to the Triennale.
105 – Creator in Residence「ei」
Creator in Residence「ei」 is a multi-location artwork by UMA/design farm + MUESUM that is hard to understand. Over the Triennale, they have 3 different events where the creators are living on the island and create various artworks. I couldn’t really get an idea of what they were doing but there was mention of collecting foods and yeast as well as stories from the local people of Sakate. It seems like a very interesting project but I really couldn’t understand it. When I visited, there were 3 locations for the art, but there may be more or less for autumn and the future.
The permanent exhibit, or what I believe will be permanent, is the “fish farm house” by Yumiko Utsu. This is a very curious artwork that I really didn’t care for. It is a shack that has been decorated inside and out. There are a lot of strange pictures on the outside as well as inside. There are also various footprints and hand prints inside on the floor as well. There wasn’t any information about this artwork but if you took away the pictures that are on the walls, I would have liked it more.
The other permanent exhibit, if they are open, is at the terminal building. The main building is an information centre with some local information. I couldn’t get much info from the place as I was sweating too much. I used the information centre as a place to cool down and rehydrate. Upstairs is a small cafe with the exhibit. I believe they only open it for events but you are allowed to look through the windows. I didn’t see anything interesting so I left.
Lastly is what I can only imagine to be a temporary exhibit. They did something for the spring session and there was still something there when I visited. If you head uphill from the Beat Shrine, you will see a building with 2 rooms. One room had various “ships” suspended in air. The ships were made from what appeared to be clay or other natural materials from the area. The artwork reminded me of the 2013 artwork “Air Diver” on Ogijima. It was not as impressive but it did bring back wonderful memories. The other room was a darkened room that was painted white. There is a small pinhole in one wall and when you look through it you can see the port of Sakate. I really liked the idea but felt it was a bit too simple.
106 – THE STAR ANGER
THE STAR ANGER by Kenji Yanobe is a symbol of Sakate’s art. It is a beacon calling people into the port and a very cool looking piece at the same time. You can see it as you approach the port from the nearby hillside and as you approach from the port as well. It is nothing more than a spiky glitter ball with a dragon on top that rotates slowly. It is amazing in how it looks and I love it. I would imagine it is combined with Kenji Yanobe’s collaboration with Beat Takeshi in their ANGER from the Bottom work that is up the hill. If you look at the building next to THE STAR ANGER, there appears to be some sort of story linking the 2 artworks together, but I have yet to find it in English.
107 – Beat Shrine / ANGER from the Bottom
Beat Shrine / ANGER from the Bottom is a very masculine artwork done in collaboration with Beat Takeshi and Kenji Yanobe. The artwork appears to be done in collaboration with Kenji Yanobe’s other artwork, THE STAR ANGER, that resides in the port. The Beat Shrine was originally only called ANGER from the Bottom but they evolved the artwork for 2016. For 2016, they added a wooden roof to the original well design and the ANGER creature is now permanently in the up position. In 2013, the creature would hide in the well until the top of the hour where it would come out and spew water from its mouth. Now it is always up and it spews water every 20 minutes. The name Beat shrine actually is a very clever play on kanji and Beat Takeshi’s nickname. Beat, or Bi-I-To, uses the kanji “美井戸” which can be broken down into “Beauty-Well-Door”. Well is actually a water well, not the adjective. The fact that they used an old well and rebuilt it into Beat Takeshi’s shrine is pretty interesting and well worth noting. You can be sure that I will be back to see this artwork again if I get the chance.
- Shodoshima Art Guide (Official Setouchi Triennale Site – English)
- Shodoshima Art Guide (Official Setouchi Triennale Site – Japanese)
- Shodoshima Guide (2016 Setouchi Triennale) (HinoMaple)
- Someone’s Coming by Pors & Rao on Shodoshima (Setouchi Explorer)
- Setouchi Triennale 2016 on Shodoshima – Part One (Setouchi Explorer)
- Setouchi Triennale 2016 on Shodoshima – Part Two (Setouchi Explorer)
- Regent in Olives on Shōdoshima (Setouchi Explorer)
- Cradle of the Sea on Shōdoshima (Setouchi Explorer from 2013)
- ”Beat” Takeshi Kitano at the Setouchi Triennale – Anger from the Bottom (Setouchi Explorer from 2013)
The above is my own personal review of the art on Shodoshima. If you want to be surprised by the art, I recommend that you do not read more than what is written here. Links will follow the single paragraph describing the basics of the artwork when the posts are ready. Please keep an eye on the social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus) for information when they go live. Photos may also give away part of the art, but in this post, they are minimal. Spoiler alerts in individual posts will be given when it is necessary for you to enjoy the art for the first time. If you will not be going to the Setouchi Triennale, feel free to follow the links and read everything and enjoy it as best as you can. Links to individual art reviews will be coming in the following months as soon as possible.