i made it to the island by ferry, as i was saying i`d try. a tiny bus took us on a narrow winding road along the coast. after one turn, i could see it in the valley, just like i’d first seen it on the internet.
opened in september 2010, the teshima art museum is not exactly a museum. the complex includes a couple of white pods modeled to resemble water droplets. the concept is the collaboration of half of sanaa, architect ryue nishizawa and of artist rei naito.
you buy a ticket and start on the route: a pristine concrete path surrounding mount myojin. after a short walk, you see the main pod, but, right before entering, you are asked to remove your shoes and put on slippers (this is japan after all) and to put all your picture taking gadgets into a transparent plastic bag and not use them. also, the assistant asked us to speak in a low voice as the art is nervous (i admit i first put that on his limited english but then i understood…)
i entered the pod. at first, you see absolutely nothing. a capsule made of fine white concrete. two holes allow the outside in. there’s some water on the floor. wtf? and then…the magic starts its work on you: the water travels. little droplets or even water worms hoover from point a to point b. and you start watching.
and, when you do, you start noticing that all that randomness is controlled. there are barely visible holes where the slightest amount of water is being pumped through. when the whole drop is there, it starts gliding on the water repellent surface. the floor is not flat. it’s more like a natural forest floor: irregular. but all the randomness is intentional: on the bottom of the “valleys” there are some white plastic “mushrooms” hiding draining holes. the little sound of the water going down the drain is only joined by birds flying and crickets cricketing. and this is no chance occurrence either: the pod is an extraordinary resonance box. the faintest step is multiplied. this is how a little cricket is audible so clearly inside.
all this simulacrum of nature is endearing and wonderful. i could spend my day watching the mesmerizing water worms and investigating the secrets of this place. it is amazing! i’m starting to imagine the intricate system below the floor and all the calculations that must have been put into this.
the point of this space is the art. the two are organically conjoined. i know i’m saying the same thing twice this week but let’s not forget, the architect is the same. these guys did not get the pritzker prize for nothing!
it turns i love surprises. with age, their number decreases. but the teshima art museum was one of this year’s miracles in my book!
credits: noboru morikawa
a romanian version of the post used to be available on the ginger group