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Credit:Ma Yansong MAD Architects, Tunnel of Light, photo by Nakamura Osamu

Art Triennale

Japan’s art festivals turn the countryside into a dynamic open-air gallery

Cities like Tokyo and Kyoto aren’t the only places in Japan where contemporary art thrives. In an effort to help revitalize the countryside and make Japan a global hub of contemporary art, a growing number of municipalities have begun staging international art festivals over the last two decades. At these events, established and up-and-coming artists alike from Japan and beyond showcase their work all around the area.
The Setouchi Triennale and the Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale in Niigata are among the best-known. The former takes place across 12 islands — including the renowned “art island” of Naoshima — in southwestern Japan; its most famous installation is a giant polka-dotted pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama. Meanwhile, the latter pioneered the idea of holding art festivals in the countryside.
Held once every three years, these prestigious festivals bring artists and local residents together, as they transform the rural landscape into one big art gallery, where visitors can easily find awe-inspiring art pieces on a casual stroll around town. Hundreds of masterpieces can be found in galleries and museums, as well as fields, forests, and unused homes and schools that have been converted into impromptu galleries.

・Setouchi Triennale

・Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale

Credit  Photo1:Navin Rawanchaikul+Navin Production, The School of Akakura, photo by Ishizuka Gentaro、Photo2:Esther Stocker "Contours of Thinking" Photo by Ichikawa Yasushi

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