Benesse Art Site Naoshima

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Opening of the Summer Performing Arts Programs on Inujima Island

Inujima, in Higashi-ward, Okayama, is a small island that can be covered on foot in about two hours. The island's prosperity came from its stone quarry during the Edo period, and its copper refinery in years after thaoperationt at the beginning of the 20th cenurz. However, with changes in industry and society, the island's population has dwindled to about 50 people.

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Since 2002, Inujima island has attracted various performing arts groups who have come to perform on its outdoor stage, including Osaka-based "Ishinha." Ishinha, well known for conceiving and developing their productions on-site, sets out to foster a deeper relationship with the local island community.

In 2008, Benesse Art Site Naoshima built the Inujima Seirensho Art Museum on the island, and opened the Inujima "Art House Project" in 2010 based on the motto: "Using what exists to create what is to be." Both have brought an influx of visitors and new life to the tiny island. Benesse Art Site Naoshima, which originally focused on contemporary art, set out to foster a deeper relationship with the local island community, and recognised the potential and power of the performing arts in achieving this goal. The performing arts movement has been embraced on the island, where it serves to both promote its culture and pass it on to future generations.

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"URA-SHIMA" (Writer: Hiromi Sumi; Director: Shyuji Onodera; Producer: NPO Artfirm), which earned the 2015 Inujima Performing Arts Grant, was performed on Inujima in October, 2015.

Four performing arts programs will be introduced at the summer and autumn seasons of the Setouchi Triennale 2016.

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"MuDA Iron" by MuDA, aims to portray and convey life's regenerative experiences, such as "what arises after a collision." Physical collision, the island's nature, iron, and various elements will be incorporated into the performance. (Dates: July 29 to 31, 2016)
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"The World has Shrunk, and Only a Certain Fact Remains" by Nibroll. The performers will set out to give form to Inujima's past and future through physical expression, at the power plant of the now-defunct Inujima Refinery, a symbol of Inujima's past prosperity. (Dates: August 10 to 13, 2016)
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"Inujima Sound Project: Inuto Imago," produced by Kazuhisa Uchihashi, who has been a theater music director with Ishinha for more than 30 years, along with a small group of musicians from Indonesia, will tune in to the sounds of Inujima island, and create their own unique musical compositions. (Live & Workshop Dates: August 22 to September 4, 2016)
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"VESSEL," a performative art installation comprised of bodies, sculpture. A collaboration of choreographer Damien Jalet and sculptor Kohei Nawa. (Date: October 15, 2016)

The first group, MuDA, chose "Iron" as its theme. Even after a hundred years, a huge volume of scrap metal still remains on Inujima, remnants of the copper refinery industry which once supported the island's economy.

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MuDA members visiting Inujima in January, 2016. Speaking to islanders about the history of the island, and the days when the Inujima Refinery was still in operation.

Iron is said to be the most stable element in space. At the site of the stage for their performance, remnants of iron left-over from the copper refinery lay scattered over the ground.

"The energy released from an explosion moves toward a stable state, and then repeats the cycle. Iron continues to be produced from the repeated collisions in the cosmic cycle of the universe. This means that even in the vastness of space, where all elements seem to exist in disorder, they are actually moving in the same direction. From these collisions and the reactions born from them, everything starts. In every moment of every collision, life and the world begin." (MuDA)

What kind of energy will MuDA's performance leave behind on Inujima?

These four projects are vastly different in terms of genre, production, and the creative process behind each. All, however, bring the island's folklore, customs, and history to light, reproducing and recreating them through different styles of performative arts. What thought and feelings will these projects generate within you? What will the culmination of each event, each person involved, and each word spoken be? And what will each bring to Inujima and the future of the island? These projects will reveal their answers in their own ways.

We hope you will enjoy the New Movement beginning on Inujima in the Summer of 2016.

The May 2017 issue of our quarterly magazine NAOSHIMA NOTE has been published.

Apr 28, 2017

The May 2017 issue of our quarterly magazine NAOSHIMA NOTE has been published.

The May 2017 issue of our quarterly magazine NAOSHIMA NOTE contains a special feature about "Artist at Gallery 6 2016" presented at Miyanoura Gallery 6.Read article

Pannaphan Yodmanee, the winner of the 11th Benesse Prize visits the islands

Apr 21, 2017

Pannaphan Yodmanee, the winner of the 11th Benesse Prize visits the islands

Pannaphan Yodmanee, the winner of the 11th Benesse Prize, visited Benesse Art Site Naoshima in early March, 2017.Read article

An encounter with Lee Ufan: What it Means to Accept

Mar 03, 2017

An encounter with Lee Ufan: What it Means to Accept "Uncertainty"

Lee Ufan was one of the leading figures of the Mono-ha school (School of Things), a contemporary art movement emerging in Japan in the late 1960s. A talk by Lee Ufan was held in Naoshima in January 2017, providing a deeper insight into the experience of the Lee Ufan Museum through the direct words of the artist.Read article

Conference by Michael Govan

Feb 15, 2017

Conference by Michael Govan

In autumn last year, a momentous conference by Michael Govan, CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), was held at Benesse Art Site Naoshima.Read article

Naoshima Hall wins 2017 Wallpaper* Design Award in Best New Public Building category

Feb 10, 2017

Naoshima Hall wins 2017 Wallpaper* Design Award in Best New Public Building category

Designed by architect Hiroshi Sambuichi and completed in November 2015, Naoshima Hall is a public hall built in the Honmura district for the residents of Naoshima Island. The hall took the top spot in the Best New Public Building category of this year's coveted Wallpaper* Design Awards, presented by the eponymous British magazine.Read article

Morning Talk about Claude Monet by Ayano Hayashi:

Dec 22, 2016

Morning Talk about Claude Monet by Ayano Hayashi: "Water Lilies in the morning sun and sweets the artist loved."

Chichu Art Museum permanently houses five works from Claude Monet's iconic "Water Lilies" series, painted by the artist in his later years. Monet was also very interested in cuisine, and he was an avid gardener and cook. As a tribute to this aspect of the artist's life, we will host a tour to explore the theme of art and food in Monet's life, inviting freelance curator Ayano Hayashi, whose special interest lies in finding and introducing a culinary connection in the work of painters - with a special focus on artists from the impressionist period.Read article

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