Words hardly do it any justice; neither do photographs.
In fact, I can't help thinking that Teshima Art Museum should not be called a museum. Soothing and beautiful, it feels like some kind of sacred space that invites you to calm your thoughts and appreciate the moment.
White shell, devoid of any pillars, covers the space of 40 by 60 meters. Reaching 4.5 meters on the highest point, the concave space has two oval openings which let in the natural light.
The interior is empty. Save for droplets of water which percolate through porous, concrete floor and then snake around, racing each other on the imperceptibly sloping surface. Silvery pools form on the floor only to migrate unpredictably as the wind gently moves them around.
The subtle, yet immensely engaging installation titled Matrix was created by artist Rei Naito.
As you come inside, you are asked to take off your shoes and refrain from speaking; you are not allowed to take photographs or make sketches.
I chose to walk bare feet. The cool, white floor feels soft, almost velvety. As your toes get cold, you instinctively walk towards where the sunlight warms the surface up.
Architect Ruyu Nishizawa (one of the founders of SAANA), who was commissioned to create "museum" to accommodate Matrix, chose to provide space that would enhance Naito’s work but also place it in a wider context .
Nested on a hill overlooking the Inland Sea, surrounded by rice fields and mature trees, Nishizawa’s structure intimately connects Naito’s art with nature.
“It was important to us to create an architectural space that could coexist with Rei Naito's work, and act in harmony with the island's environment” says Nishizawa. “We proposed an architectural design composed of free curves, echoing the shape of a water drop. Our idea was that the curved drop-like form would create a powerful architectural space in harmony with the undulating landforms around it.”
Two eliptical openings let the elements in: wind, rain and air.
As you carefully walk around puddles of water, soft sound of foliage mixed with the rhythm of breaking sea waves gently sips in.
For an instant everything is pure and beautiful. You are removed from all the clutter, noise and misery that remained outside. Yet, treading amid minute drops of water, you hardly ever felt more at peace, more in tune with the world.