Chichu Art Museum   地中美術館

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Underground Art

A museum buried in the hills of Naoshima yet bathed in natural light, the Chichu Art Museum uses this paradox to better showcase the beauty of its art.

Created in 2004 by Tadao Ando at the request of the Naoshima Fukutake Art Museum Foundation, Chichu Art Museum continues the company's development of the island of Naoshima, started more than twenty years before by businessman and art collector Soichiro Fukutake.

With Chichu Art Museum, Ando sought to revolutionize the relationship between people, works of art and nature, creating a museum that merges with the natural environment without disrupting it. By allowing visitors to admire the works in natural light, their appearance changes depending on the time of day. The museum remains in the style of Ando: unpainted raw materials and fusion between earth, air and water.

The peculiarity of Chichu Art Museum is that it can be considered a work of art in itself, since the museum was designed and created to house the works on display. It is characterized by both raw and processed materials, natural and artificial, integrated into and contrasting with the natural setting.

Gigantic Minimalism

Having to wear slippers to visit parts of the museum makes it feel a little like prison! The guards are indeed very present, and they are quick to remind you that it is forbidden to take photos of the indoor artwork. The museum can get quite crowded - the price of success - but it shouldn't bother most visitors because the rooms are worth the visit.

The permanent installations consist of three works: there is emphasis here on quality rather than quantity.

Water Lilies and Water-Lily Pond by Claude Monet welcome visitors to Chichu, a white room breathtakingly lit by natural light that comes to rest in a roundabout way on the works.

Then comes Open Sky by James Turrell, which manages to confuse the viewer with surprising light play. 

Finally, Time/Timeless/No Time by Walter De Maria is a huge granite ball placed in the middle of a room designed to accommodate it.

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