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YUKINORI YANAGI - #yukinoriyanagi
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Artist Yukinori Yanagi creates art by tracing the path of an ant on the floor with a red crayon.
“For Wandering Position Yanagi placed four steel angle beams in a square on the floor of the Baggage Building at the Santa Fe Depot. The artist then set loose one ant that he proceeded to follow for a set duration while marking its trail with a pink piece of chalk. The performance resulted in a random pattern on the floor that made visible the physical activity of one ant.“
Eclipse, from Hinomaru portfolio
33 x 24 inches
edition of 35
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DO: Visit Japan’s art islands
A cluster of once-polluted islands in the Seto Inland Sea have become the unlikely home to Japan’s largest and most inspiring collection of contemporary art. Founded in 1989 by billionaire arts patron Soichiro Fukutake, Benesse Art Site has steadily grown from its original home on Naoshima to populate neighbouring Teshima and Inujima islands too. A pilgrimage for modern art lovers around the world, Benesse Art Site invites visitors to immerse themselves in art, outside the usual white-box walls of galleries and museums.
Having grown up in rural Japan, Fukutake is passionate about natural environments - he believes art is best experienced surrounded by nature and that it has the power to revive rural communities. Advocating a new form of philanthropic capitalism, Fukutake has overseen the building of numerous permanent exhibitions, housing the work of some of the world’s most renowned artists in architecturally-designed centres across the islands.
Read on for our top 5 must-see exhibitions.
1. Benesse House Museum
Part museum, part hotel, Benesse House Museum seamlessly brings together architecture, art, nature and hospitality. Visitors are invited to live amidst the exhibitions, wandering the expansive interiors and grounds, whilst enjoying breath-taking views of the Seto Inland Sea.
2. Art House Project
This beautiful project sees artists take abandoned houses in Naoshima island’s Honmura district and turn them into works of art, weaving in local history and memories of the period when the buildings were lived in. Beginning in 1998, Art House Project now comprises of seven locations, inviting visitors to walk from house to house, getting a sense for everyday life on the island whilst interacting with local residents as they go.
3. Tom Na H-iu
Standing in the centre of still pond, surrounded by bamboo groves on the island of Teshima, artist Mariko Mori’s contemporary obelisk is both beautiful and mesmerising. A modern monument symbolising life and death in our time, the sculpture is linked to the Kamioka Observatory in Hida, Japan, interactively glowing when it receives data generated by supernova explosions.
4. Inujima Seirensho Art Museum
Breathing new life into the ruins of a former copper refinery on Inujima Island, Inujima Seirensho Art Museum’s dramatic industrial interiors are the work of progressive architect Hiroshi Sambuichi and house the work of artist Yukinori Yanagi. The exhibition is a vocal critique of Japan’s modernisation, and by harnessing renewable energy to power the building, actively embraces sustainable development.
5. Naoshima Bath "I♥︎湯"
For an experience truly out of the ordinary, don’t leave Naoshima without visiting "I♥︎湯" . Straight from the imagination of artist Shinro Ohtake, the bathhouse was created with the intention of bringing about interactions between local residents and international visitors. Drawings and found objects covering the bathhouse create a colourful collage, bringing to life the pages of Ohtake’s creative sketchbooks.
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The point that most strikes me in art is the reaction or feelings that cause the work in the viewer (including me as a creator, or as a spectator or listener). The reaction (both, for or against) that causes any artistic manifestation is the reason itself of the existence of the work as such. This is unique in each person, that is, although two people listen to the same song, see the same performance, the same picture or the same dance, the experience is different (although they coincide in opinions). As an example we have Mariko Mori, Yayoi Kusama, and Yukinori Yanagi, three Japanese artists who, although they share the same country and culture, differ in their artistic intentions.
In the case of Mariko Mori, her work is based on a futuristic world. With each work she shows the beauty, creativity and even stupidity of a modern society in the future. With her work "Empty Dream" shows how the end of the "sophisticated" could fall into extreme ridiculousness, setting an example to some experiences in the daily life of our society.
On the other hand, we have Yayoi Kusama. This brilliant artist brings about a mixture of emotions as pleasant as others more uncomfortable in her surrealist works. As an example we have her interactive work "Obsession Infinite" presented in Chile. A world of lights and colors (and mirrors) that give the sensation of living in space, ... the feeling of living in a different world.
Finally, we have Yukinori Yanagi with his "Pacific" project where he uses nature (ants to be specific) to create unique brands in his "sand flags". By using history and politics as the main theme of his works, Yukinori often creates controversy in the viewer. In all his works we can clearly see his point of view, leaving us with the decision to be for or against his ideas, creating a debate in our minds.
‘Hero Dry Cell’ 2008. Seirensho Art Museum, Injuma, The Art Island. Hiroshi Sambuichi & Yukinori Yanagi.
An old copper refinery that was shut down. Re-used as an art gallery / installation
The architect has extracted parts of the the interior and kept them where they were previously placed.
A single slab of Injuma Slag, light bulbs, sunlight
Industrial ruins into artwork
Simple materiality - oak, sand, timber,
Textural and colour contrasts
Beautiful lighting!! Sunlight casts from behind, reflecting on the pool of water.
Light absorbs into back wall with black paint being so pigmented
Doors and windows suspended on wires - delicate, quite interesting narrative
Extracted parts of a narrative to inform the new design