Kanazawa Drift: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

(revised October 21: see the new, “2.0” version of ‘Kanazawa Photo Drift’ at https://medium.com/the-big-sushi/kanazawa-photo-drift-e0c4af118c16#.rhkzl02l6)

Jan Fabre, The Man Who Measures the Clouds (1999)
Jan Fabre, The Man Who Measures the Clouds (1999)
Olafur Eliasson, Colour Activity House (2010)
Olafur Eliasson, Colour Activity House (2010)
21 Century Mueseum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
21 Century Mueseum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

Teshima Art Museum. I know, right: the title promises a post on the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, then leads with a link to a museum — with a really uninspired name, even — in an entirely different part of Japan. Hey, at least they’re both in Japan! Besides, there is an interesting connection between the two: the Teshima museum building, like that of the 21st Century, was designed by architexts Kazuyo Sejima Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA. So when R. and I visited Kanagawa we had Teshima on the mind. Even now, two years after first making the pilgrimage to the Benesse Art Site Naoshima in the Seto Inland Sea, I am haunted by that low, white, droplet-shaped building set in the terraced rice paddies of rural Japan, inspired by the wind and light through the large oval windows, transfixed by the water drops running errant courses across the smooth expanse of floor like, like, well… like each of us, people I mean, dare I say souls? Similar but unique, as we follow our own errant paths across the floor of life. Until, like those droplets of water, we trickle down the drain to be recycled in a fresh drop. As R. says, Teshima Art Museum isn’t really a museum, but a piece of art itself. As much as any forest or mountain or cathedral I’ve visited, Teshima Art Museum is a spiritual place. I really need to write about it some day. Guess I’ve already started…

If Teshima Art Museum is the goal at the end of an artistic/spiritual quest, a grail hidden on a relatively remote island in an under-visited part of Japan, then 21st Century is a 10-minute ride by public bus from kanazawa Station, and near major tourist spots such as Kanazawa Castle and Kenrokuen Garden, a place for locals and visitors to Kanazawa to take an art break., either outside in the interactive installations or inside, in the peripheral galleries or the main exhibition space. Here’s how the English-language pamphlet explains the concept:

“Museum open to city like a park”

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa is designed by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue nishizawa/SANAA. It is situated in the center of Kanazawa city. Anybody can drop in whenever they want. The museum is designed as a park where people can gather nd meet one another. The glass-made circle results in an ambiguous spatial definition, a kind of reversible membrane, through which visitors can sense each other’s [sic] presence. The Museum pays careful attention to its openness and brightness from the court0yards with skylights.

… The aim of the Museum is “casualness”, “enjoyment”, and “accessibility”.

They also serve a mean buffet lunch, if you can get a table.

Unfortunately, the main exhibition space happened to be closed the day we visited, as curators prepared for the next event. So R. and I made do with exploring the outlying exhibitions, some of which did, indeed, carry echoes of Teshima. Enjoy the

pictures…

James Turrell, Blue Planet Sky (2004)
James Turrell, Blue Planet Sky (2004)
James Turrell, Blue Planet Sky (2004)
James Turrell, Blue Planet Sky (2004)
James Turrell, Blue Planet Sky (2004)
James Turrell, Blue Planet Sky (2004)
James Turrell, Blue Planet Sky (2004)
James Turrell, Blue Planet Sky (2004)
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Michael Lin, People's Gallery 09.10.04-21.03.05 (2004)
Michael Lin, People’s Gallery 09.10.04-21.03.05 (2004)
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Jan Fabre, The Man Who Measures the Clouds (1999)
Jan Fabre, The Man Who Measures the Clouds (1999)

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