The southwestern Japanese islands of Naoshima and Teshima are known for their breathtaking site-specific art installations like Yayoi Kusama’s yellow pumpkin, or the concrete ‘Matrix’ by Rei Naito. The two islands, however, are part of a much larger project within the Setouchi region established to bolster Japan’s contemporary art scene.
Every three years, Naoshima, Teshima and ten other art islands including Megijima, Ogijima and Shodoshima play host to a collection of installations and artists for the Setouchi International Art Triennale. The next edition of the festival is scheduled to open in mid-April 2022.
Covid-19 has resulted in the cancellation or postponement of several major events and festivals in Japan and the Setouchi Triennale has faced its fair share of hiccups, but – knock on wood – despite a delayed announcement of participating artists, the festival’s upcoming programme looks as promising as ever.
The festival is set to run for three seasons next year: spring, summer and autumn. The triennale includes the islands’ permanent site-specific art installations like the Hiroshi Sugimoto Gallery Time Corridor (including Sugimoto’s ‘Mondrian’ glass teahouse), as well as exhibitions that will only be displayed for a single season.
Exhibiting participants hail from all around the world and include both artists who were invited by the festival as well as some selected from an open call. The international crowd includes names like Azerbaijani artist Faig Ahmed, known for his surreal artworks of reimagined carpets, and sculptor Sopheap Pich, who uses natural materials like rattan gathered from his home country of Cambodia to create abstract 3D figures.
Among the featured creatives from Japan are the likes of Akari Yamashita, Rio Toyofuku, Yoshitaka Nanjo, and the Kinoshita Kabuki theatre troupe, who stage contemporary ensemble pieces rooted in traditional Japanese performing arts.
The Setouchi Triennale will run from April 14 to May 18, August 5 to September 4 and September 29 to November 6 2022. 3-Season Passports are available for purchase online now, with prices for 16- to 18-year-olds set at ¥3,000 and prices for adults set at ¥5,000. Visitors aged 15 and below will be able to view the installations for free.
The full programme for the 2022 Setouchi Triennale has yet to be announced. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
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