Top Museums to Visit on Teshima Island
A guide to the main museums on Teshima Art Island.
Naoshima and Teshima islands are famous for being home to numerous museums that showcase the works of various international and Japanese modern artists. Teshima Island is located between Naoshima and Shodoshima Island.
The Teshima Art Museum, designed by Tokyo-born Ryue Nishizawa, is perhaps the most iconic museum on Teshima. Its masterpiece is a 25 centimetre-thick hollow shell bearing two openings with a view of the outdoors. The piece encourages visitors to relax to the sounds of nature, affording them a rare moment of peaceful contemplation.
Les Archives du Coeur, created by French artist Christian Boltanski, features a room that is completely dark save for a single lightbulb that pulsates to the rhythm of collected heartbeats. Meant to be a juxtaposition of life and death, Les Archives du Coeur is an artwork that fully immerses the viewer in a shared human experience. Visitors can record their own heartbeat and have it permanently stored in the archives for future visitors to hear.
The Teshima Yoko House is Tadanori Yoko and Yuko Nagayama’s transformation of an aging house located in the Ieura District. Also centered on the theme of life and death, the property and its various artworks have been renovated so that the exterior is covered in red tinted glass, distorting the viewer’s experience of the outside. The colour red was used as a symbol of life; as the viewer makes their way through the house, they’ll notice that their world, momentarily tinged in red, will slowly begin to fade into what the artist calls “monochrome”, or what we see in everyday life. This is their representation of death. Efforts were made in the process of completing the house’s renovation to ensure that the surrounding community would be involved in some capacity, whether it be recruiting them to assist with decorating the house or hosting events.
The Lee Ufan Museum is a collaboration between artist Lee Ufan and architect Tadao Ando. Due to its location in a removed space surrounded only by water and greenery, the museum offers a place of spiritual respite in a society that is becoming increasingly saturated with consumerism and materialism. The artwork you’ll see here is minimalistic – seeking only the things that will truly make one content.
Amongst the remaining museums on Teshima are the Needle Factory, the Teshima 8 Million Lab (Yaoyorozu in Japanese), the Storm House, in which visitors are immersed in an environment perpetually ravaged by inclement weather, Tom Na H-iu, a homage to a Celtic cultural site in which souls are allowed to rest until their next migration, and La foret des Murmures, a forest through which approximately 400 wind chimes have been scattered and marked with the names of deceased loved ones.