Sculpture, photography, "slow food", and a garden ... I can hardly think of a museum (well, this is in fact called an "art facility"!) which I enjoyed as much as Clematis No Oka yesterday.
Izu Photo Museum was designed by Hiroshi Sugimoto. I always liked his photography, but had no idea that he is also an architect. The building impressed me as much as the images.
Sculpture by Giuliano Vangi, born and raised in Tuscany (he later escaped to Brazil, to "free himself from the influence of Renaissance") was also moving. I could not quite figure out whether fleeing to Rio was enough to cure him of the European/ Renaissance affliction; and I am glad I could not.
And so were the works of Bernard Buffet, a prominent representative of French figurative art after World War II (how come I have never heard of him before? His mono-chromatic, expressive paintings are amazing).
But best of all was the clematis garden...
The sky was slightly overcast, the light was great. We did not have to rush anywhere, just strolled through the soft green grassy hills.
Delicate white, blue, silver and purple flowers, which are just beginning to bloom, seemed like works of art, no less.
They might be selling Picassos in New York for hundreds of millions, I totally do not care.
Would not trade that afternoon in No Oka for anything you can buy at Christies (well, if someone wanted to give me a piece of jewellery from Calder or an Irving Penn print, I might have some trouble making a choice... But for the time It seems I am safe/ there is no risk!).
Do not wait! Take a trip to Hakone, (about an hour out of Tokyo by the Shinkansen).