Over the break we enjoyed a fleeting visit to the Benesse art site on Naoshima Island in Japan. Having stayed in Takamatsu, we caught a 50 minute ferry to Naoshima, and on arrival rented bikes for getting around the island. Naoshima is home to a number of museums, galleries and outdoor artworks, though the Chichu art museum designed by architect Tadao Ando was a personal highlight. Constructed in 2004, the reinforced concrete museum permanently houses works by Claude Monet, James Turrell and Walter de Maria. Submerged in the hillside, it does not compete with the natural landscape, lying flush with geometric sky-lights visible from an aerial view, as shown below.

Each gallery space is individually crafted around the experience of the art piece, and lit solely with natural light. Here is the gallery housing works by Claude Monet.

The image below shows a gallery featuring the work of Walter de Maria.

In Chichu, Ando has created a work of art in itself that honours the pieces within it. Accentuated by the absence of crowds and peaceful setting, our visit left us with a deep sense of calm.