…and Smashing Pumpkins

Naoshima: Art Island
The Japanese architect Tadao Ando dominates this island - but not in an outwardly visual way. Three of his creations nestle within the landscape, giant siloes of concrete that bury, meander and playfully coax you down their austere slabbed corridors. Natural light informs you of your destination, it lights the gallery holding the giant Matisses and makes you look up through the natural skylight and beyond. The sky floats past like a screen. only the falling rain lets you know that the concrete slabs are, as incongruous as it seems, in tune with nature. Concrete frames and highlights nature, nature illuminates, softens and calms the hard edged buildings. Sadly the museums don't let you take pictures, which for the high entry price they charge is a bit mean-spirited (I can understand not taking pictures of famous artworks, especially with a flash - but the fabulous buildings too?)

More famous are the artworks that are scattered around the landscape (Yayoi Kusama’s yellow pumpkin from 1994 the case in point) which along with the buildings really add to the feeling you are in a bond villain's hideout - more accurately, if a bit more obscure - the video game Myst. Ironically you can photograph the outdoors art, even though some of it is by the same artists that are housed inside the museum.

One artwork in the Benesse Art Museum was by Richard Long, called River Avon Mud Circles by the Inland Sea, 1997. I'd like to think its was mud from the River Avon near my home town which seems an awfully long way away.