”Chichu Art Museum” Uniting nature, architecture and art

”Chichu Art Museum”
Uniting nature, architecture and art

Art museum built on a hill on Nao Island

Chichu Art Museum is situated on the opposite side of Benesse House in the southern part of Nao Island in the Seto Inland Sea. The name Chichu Art Museum may sound funny because chichu means underground. You will understand the naming if you look at the building. True to the name, the museum is buried underground. Designed by Tadao Ando, the museum allows natural sunlight to come in through ceiling windows while the portions visible from the outside is minimized to maintain the view of the landscape. The museum only shows works by three artists: Claude Monet, Walter De Maria, and James Turrell. Their artwork is displayed to blend with nature so that visitors can feel a sense of unity.
One of the features of the museum is that visitors can view the art pieces in natural sunlight although the building is situated underground. The natural light makes artwork look different, depending on the time of day. The exhibition space itself is a piece of art.

A leisure walk through the museum

The ticket center is the first building visitors encounter. Visitors then walk through Chichu Garden filled with plants that Monet loved along the 70-meter-long approach to the museum building. Visitors can experience the beauty of nature expressed by the painter who loved Japan.
Pass through ”Monet’s garden”, a large square opening on the ceiling, and a tilted concrete wall, you will go underground where a piece by Walter De Maria creates a solemn ambience. There is a black sphere that changes in appearance from sunrise to sunset. Enjoy the art for a while. Next, works by James Turrell await you, such as Open Sky and Open Field. Being inspired by light, the pieces will make you feel strange as if the sky and the walls were united, creating a space without depth perception that seems to go on forever. The two latter artists created their work while the building was being constructed. That is why the works perfectly match the architecture.
Finally, you arrive at the Monet room with five pieces including Water Lilies, the one by Monet in his latest years, in a space where the floor is covered with white marble tiles. In this museum, such elements as light, water, plants and even birdsong serve to enhance the artwork. You can experience art with your five senses at this serene art museum.


Chichu Art Museum
3449-1 Naoshima, Kagawa District, Kagawa