Setouchi Triennale – Teshima Art (2019)

Teshima is one of the bigger islands of the Setouchi Triennale and with that comes the need for more time to see the art.  The art is focused around 5 areas of the island and takes up to a day to see all of it.  In reality, you need one and a half but all of the art is wonderful and there is a lot to see and do while you are there.

te02-B – Teshima Yokoo House

Teshima Yokoo House was designed by Tadanori Yokoo, with the architecture work done by Yuko Nagayama.  For all intents and purposes, Tadanori Yokoo is the visionary of this museum as he created the sketches but Ms. Nagayama made it come true.  The entire building is amazing and the overall concept is great.  I really loved the museum but I am torn on the art that is within the museum.  Mr. Yokoo has a weird perversion that is easily seen in his artwork with an obsession with waterfalls for the pieces.  The tall tower next to the main house is also an amazing place that echoes with fun.  Be sure to check out the washrooms too for a real treat.

te03-B – Needle Factory

Needle Factory is a simple artwork by Shinro Ohtake.  The name comes from the fact that the “building” for this artwork used to be a needle factory.  The entire factory has been gutted and most of the structure is nothing more than a skeleton.  The walls are still there to help protect you but the roof and windows are completely removed.  They also moved a huge boat into the factory that used to be in Uwajima.  It is a real sight to see but in the summer heat there is no shelter from the sun; it can be very easy to get heat stroke.  Also be careful as the entrance doors can get very hot in the sun.

te07-B – Tom Na H-iu

Tom Na H-iu by Mariko Mori is not the most interesting artwork and somewhat of a letdown for me. The location is wonderful as it is a walk through the woods from a secluded parking lot to reach the artwork. You have to be careful after rains as it can get muddy but when you finally get to the artwork you are greeted buy a pond with a long stone in the middle. The stone is supposed to flash every time a supernova is detected in the sky. Obviously I didn’t see it do so when I visited, so overall I can only say that I enjoyed the nature more than the artwork itself.

te08 – Particles in the Air / Karato

Particles in the Air / Karato by Noe Aoki is an interesting work.  In 2013, I didn’t like it, but in 2016 I warmed up to it.  The artwork is nothing more than hoops and bars that extend into the air.  Obviously, from the title, it looks like particles in the air.  In 2013, I went in spring when the vegetation was not really good and the well next to the artwork was turned off.  In summer, it did look much better with more lush vegetation, but I still found it weak overall.  It is worth a visit if you can go but not something that you must see.

te09 – Your First Color (Solution In My Head-Solution In My Stomach)

Your First Color (Solution In My Head – Solution In My Stomach) is an artwork by Pipilotti Rist.  Looking at photos, I really liked the artwork but when I first visited in 2013, I was confused.  I didn’t know what it was all about as the beautiful colours that were in the photos were not the only parts of the video.  There were also videos of eyes and other body parts.  I really didn’t like the body parts but I loved the various colours from the video of fluids.  I still don’t like this one that much but everyone has their preferences.

te10 – Shima Kitchen

Shima Kitchen has been one of my favourites on Teshima since I first visited.  Since I only go to Teshima once every 3 years, I had to go back and enjoy the wonderful meal.  The main building is a restored house and the back terrace was constructed for the Triennale.  The design was by Ryo Abe and it is wonderful.  The lunches sell out fast so be there early to get a reservation.  If you cannot, Shima Kitchen also has bento boxes and curry rice in a small shop next door.  Both places allow you to head outside to the terrace to enjoy your meal.  If you are alone or in a group of 2, you are likely to be seated at the counter where you can enjoy watching the cooks do their magic but if you are in a bigger group, you will probably be at a table to enjoy the view.

te11-B – Storm House

Storm House was created by Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller and it is a genius work.  I love returning to Karato because of this house and I really absorb the work.  They converted the main rooms of the house and outfitted it to simulate a storm that approaches and leaves.  You can hear the rain from afar and as it approaches.  There is a lot to absorb in the artwork.  It takes about 10 minutes for 1 cycle.  I was worried I wouldn’t like it a second time, but I still loved it!

te13-B – Teshima Art Museum

Everyone goes to the Teshima Art Museum and it is a great place.  I love what Rei Naito did to design the place but it is hard to really enjoy it with dozens of people there at all times.  During the festival, there is a line to enter the museum so be aware that you may lose a lot of time trying to enjoy it.  I really thought it was a good place to relax and meditate.  A lot of people are sleeping in the artwork and the peace that you feel really helps you to do so.  I could easily spend hours just absorbed in my own thought when visiting but I couldn’t as I always worry about others who are waiting to get in too.

te14 – No one wins – Multibasket

No one wins – Multibasket by Llobet & Pons is one of my favourite artworks on Teshima, especially in the Karatohama area. It is a very simple artwork that consists of a large backboard in the shape of Teshima along with several basketball hoops. I had seen it in 2013 and had a blast just shooting hoops with my friend. I always love interactive artworks and it is definitely something you need to play with to appreciate it.

te15-B – Les Archives du Coeur

Les Archives du Coeur by Christian Boltanski is a very interesting artwork that I didn’t really love but found fascinating. It is pretty far from Karato Port but if you get there early enough you have a lot of time to enjoy the surroundings. Les Archives du Coeur is located along a secluded beach which is very peaceful. If you have seen this artwork in other areas, you will know what to expect, but it is definitely something that you have to experience for the first time without any explanations and then learn more about it to appreciate it to the fullest.

New/Unvisited Works for 2019

  • te01 – Teshima Islandscape by Koji Kakiuchi
  • te04 – UMITOTA by Akira Minagawa/Shinichiro Ogata
  • te05-B – TESHIMA SEAWALL HOUSE by Anri Sala
  • te06 – Untitled by Kohei Izutsu / Daiya Aida
  • te07-B – Tom Na H-iu by Mariko Mori
  • te12-B – La forêt des murmures by Christian Boltanski
  • te14 – No one wins – Multibasket by Llobet & Pons
  • te15-B – Les Archives du Coeur by Christian Boltanski
  • te16-B – Teshima 8 Million Lab/Red Silk of Fate – Tamaki’s Crush by Sputniko!

Past Artworks

The following artworks were part of the 2016 Setouchi Triennale but are no longer officially part of the Triennale. Hotel Lemon is still open for business but we are still evaluating “Was du liebst, bringt dich auch zum weinen” as it has been open irregularly sine 2016 and is no longer officially part of the Setouchi Triennale.

022 – Was du liebst, bring dich auch zum weinen(japanese franchise version) (sic)

Was du liebst, bring dich auch zum weinen(Japanese franchise version) by Tobias Rehberger is a very crazy artwork.  It was amazing the first time I saw it but the second time I saw it I didn’t feel as impressed.  It is a great artwork but it doesn’t stand the test of time for me in something that would make me want to visit over and over again.  I still enjoy the crazy lines and colours but I was a bit sad that the cafe was closed when I visited in 2016.  Il Vento, the name of the cafe, is a good place to have a cup of coffee but I’m unsure of the opening times so don’t be sad if they are closed.

030 – Hotel Lemon

Hotel Lemon by Smiles: is my new favourite work on Teshima.  There are a lot of great artworks in the Karato area and I was really surprised by it.  It is an artwork that does require 2 people but you can still have a little fun on your own.  There is an “audio tour” for your experience and you can really enjoy the artwork as you do acts with your partner.  It was designed for couples but if you are with a friend, I’d guess it is okay.  Be aware that they only have a few English radios so you may have to wait a while to get one or you can try the Japanese like I did.


The above is my own personal review of the art I have seen on Teshima.  If you want to be surprised by the art, I recommend that you do not read more than what is written here.  Longer descriptions will be published over time and will be linked at a later time.  Please keep an eye on my social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) 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.