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Exhibition at Japan House explores transformation of architecture and landscape of Inujima island

United Kingdom Architecture News - Apr 08, 2022 - 12:16   1064 views

Exhibition at Japan House explores transformation of architecture and landscape of Inujima island

A new exhibition, titled Symbiosis: Living Island, will explore the transformation of architecture and landscape of Japanese island of Inujima over the course of 13 years at Japan House in London, United Kingdom.   

The exhibition is curated by the project’s artistic director Hasegawa Yūko, Director of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa and SANAA founding partner and Pritzker Prize-winning architect Kazuyo Sejima, who was also responsible for the design of the Serpentine Pavilion in 2009.

Set to be opened on 21 May 2022, the exhibition will be on view until 4 September 2022 at Japan House, London. 

Exhibition at Japan House explores transformation of architecture and landscape of Inujima island

Inujima "Art House Project" S-Art House Haruka Kojin: contact lens, 2013. Photography © Takashi Homma

The exhibition, conceived as a large-scale art and architecture project, "Inujima ‘Art House Project", will showcase the extraordinary living art scheme and witness how the island has transformed its landscape and the lives of the inhabitants in the Seto Inland Sea since 2010.

The focus of the exhibition will shine a spotlight on the interaction between nature and architecture and showcase how each project informs the other to connect the people of the island to both architecture and art through a constantly evolving environment – and how it creates a symbiosis through nature. 

When visitors enter the exhibition, they will encounter as series of architectural models, photography, and videography - all offering a snapshot of daily life on the island. 

Exhibition at Japan House explores transformation of architecture and landscape of Inujima island

Inujima "Art House Project" F-Art House Kohei Nawa: Biota (Fauna/Flora), 2013. Photography © Takashi Homma

The exhibition will also feature oral testimonies from residents expressing the many ways in which the project has not only transformed Inujima to become a ‘living island’ but also positively impacted the lives of its 30+ inhabitants. 

For years, the residents of the island have been closely involved in the development of the project that will improve the life of the island for future generations.

Exhibition at Japan House explores transformation of architecture and landscape of Inujima island

Inujima "Art House Project" C-Art House Masanori Handa: Untitled (Flowers at C-Art House), 2019. Photography © Yoshikazu Inoue

The revitalization of the Island of Inujima and Naoshima has been a longo-running project since 2008. The islands of Inujima and Naoshima include works of world-renowned architects Tadao Ando, who served as a creative director and SANAA. 

The architects remodelled or rebuilt several houses and created new artistic spaces with installations, by maintaining the area's local identity. 

The project, conceived as an important blueprint for the future of community, will outline Hasegawa’s long-term vision for the future of the island, under the concept of "symbiosis" and it will tell the story of what can happen when architects position nature and the community as the central pillar to how we live our everyday lives.

Exhibition at Japan House explores transformation of architecture and landscape of Inujima island

Inujima "Art House Project" A-Art House Beatriz Milhazes: Yellow Flower Dream, 2018. Photography © Yoshikazu Inoue

Full-scale replica of Yellow Flower Dream 

The exhibition will feature a partial, full-scale replica of "Yellow Flower Dream" by Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes, which will be on view on the Ground Floor. 

Speaking at a press conference in 2017, Kazuyo Sejima had talked about the impacts of her architectural interventions on restoring life to this almost abandoned site, and whether or not her transformation projects were creating a "Bilbao Effect" on the island.

"There are not so many people compared to Bilbao, but gradually the interest in this island is growing," she said. 

"But near Inujima there is another small island - Naoshima, in this area there are many small islands." 

"My client first started building on the island of Naosima with Tadao Ando, this island is now much more famous and is visited by a lot of people."

"Originally, he wanted to invite me to work on this island, but then decided that the realization on Naosima is already sufficient and that it would shift its attention to other small islands," Sejima added.

Exhibition at Japan House explores transformation of architecture and landscape of Inujima island

A-Art House on the Island of Inujima by SANAA. Image via Patp Journal

Created especially for installation in A-Art House in 2018 on the island as part of Inujima ‘Art House Project’, the site-specific artwork, A-Art House by Kazuyor Sejima, is based on the artist’s perception of the architecture of the outdoor gallery A-Art House to function as a "sculpture uniting the surrounding community and nature".

This is originally an outdoor installation. Through the changing colours and shapes of the artwork, depending on the angle they are viewed, the freestanding floral structure aims both to capture the energy and vibrant colour of the island landscape and engage the community of Inujima by enabling residents to experience their familiar natural environment in an entirely different way.

The Inujima Island houses various kinds of works, including houses, new artistic spaces, galleries and installations. The project was realized working closely with artists, not only from Japan, but from across the globe – including Nawa Kōhei, Kojin Haruka, Asai Yūsuke and Olafur Eliasson to name a few. The island is now home to five pavilions, alongside outdoor exhibits which evolve with the landscape over time.

Exhibition at Japan House explores transformation of architecture and landscape of Inujima island

Inujima "Art House Project" F-Art House Kohei Nawa: Biota (Fauna/Flora), 2013. Photography © Takashi Homma

The buildings are scattered throughout the tiny 0.54 km² island, once a flourishing hub of the copper refining and stone quarrying industry. The galleries were constructed from recycled materials, transparent acrylic glass and aluminium, each reflecting and preserving the landscape, ecology and industrial heritage of the island.

"The island of Inujima is a place that embodies an harmonious eco-system. Through our work, we wanted to create an example of how an island and its community can be revitalized and enriched by living together with art," said Hasegawa Yūko, curator of the Symbiosis: Living Island exhibition. 

"I hope that visitors to the Symbiosis exhibition will experience the same enrichment from their interaction with the Inujima ‘Art House Project’, not only exploring the concept of symbiosis in their own lives but to maybe even visit the island one day”," Yūko added.

Exhibition at Japan House explores transformation of architecture and landscape of Inujima island

Inujima Life Garden. Photography © Yoshikazu Inoue

Since 2016, the project has been expanded with the Inujima Life Garden, a botanical garden in a greenhouse. 

Other external companies and businesses that have endorsed the activity have started a bar and amenities for visitors to stay overnight on the island – the ultimate purpose being to open the island as a platform for art and culture and to create an holistic ecology that keeps the inhabitants of the island at its heart.

Exhibition at Japan House explores transformation of architecture and landscape of Inujima island

Former site of a stonecutter's house Yusuke Asai: sprouting 01, 2016. Photography © Yoshikazu Inoue

"We are delighted to be able to bring the story behind the extraordinary island of Inujima to life at Japan House London and the work of two remarkable Japanese cultural leaders. Symbiosis: Living Island explores the transformative impact the Inujima ‘Art House Project’ has had on, not only those who live and work on the island, but those who travel from afar to visit," said Simon Wright, Director of Programming, Japan House London.

Symbiosis: Living Island will run from Saturday 21 May to Sunday 4 September 2022. Admission is free for the exhibition and booking is recommended.

Top image © Yoshikazu Inoue

> via Japan House