When covering and talking about the Setouchi International Festival 2010, I haven’t always been very kind with Megijima. As I explained elsewhere, the terrible weather when I visited must have played a part in the fact that it was the only place I didn’t enjoy visiting. However, the artworks themselves definitely didn’t help either. They definitely were the worst of the Festival for the most part. I could mention the Fukutake House which hosted, with some rare exceptions, pretty much everything I hate about contemporary art, or Green Music, one of the worst joke I have had to face (the joke being on the visitors of course).
Then, we have Sea Gull’s Parking Lot, that is still leaving me wondering to this day. 20th Century Recall was alright, but not the most amazing thing either. And I have to admit, to my great shame – I blame the weather – that I forgot to visit Megi House (ironically, it is the only piece that I saw in the process of being built last May). There also was Ship of the Zipper that seemed a pretty exciting thing, but for some reason, it was nowhere to be seen during my whole time there, whether it was in Takamatsu, in Megichō or all the times I was on a boat in between both (about 16 times during those 10 days).
Despite all of those strokes of bad luck, there were a few good surprises on Megijima, especially Equipoise (均衡) by Harumi Yukutake, a very simple artwork in concept; a spiral and “curtains” made of small mirrors in an abandoned building (some sort of storehouse) and yet, extremely complicated in its making, we’re talking about 10,000 small mirrors, all assembled by hand!
There isn’t really much more to add except that this place was both stunningly beautiful and very soothing. Making you forget if only for a few minutes, the deceptions that were on this island.
Note that Equipoise is a permanent exhibit and can be visited even if the Setouchi Triennale is not taking place (check opening schedule on the official site though).
I love reading your thoughts on the art and the islands, David. They bring back good memories. Megijima, I visited frequently when the kids were small. It’s a nice sleepy village with stunning scenery, but like you I was not as drawn to the art. It may have been because it was SO hot when I went. I liked Equipose and the house redone as a concert stage best. As for Seagull Parking Lot, I understood it when we pulled into Ogijima one day and all the seagulls were lined up on the seawall just like in that “sculpture”. At first I thought it WAS a sculpture and then I saw that the birds were real! They really do park themselves all facing in one direction.
Thanks Cathy. Sometimes I think I should move on, after all most of those pieces don’t exist anymore and I have yet to tell the details of two full trips on this blog, but selfishly, I like to write about them, it brings back sweet memories that help me wait until my next trip to Kagawa, and less selfishly, I think it’s good that we leave traces of them on the Internet.
Concerning Megijima, I almost feel bad not liking the place much, but both times I went (during the Festival but also pre-Festival) I was out of luck with this island. I’m sure it has a lot to offer too, I seem to have missed it both times. Maybe it’s just too sleepy. I like how Ogi, despite the depopulation stays lively and friendly and it’s hard not to compare both. I heard it’s more lively in the summer as people from Takamatsu go there to go to the beach.
Concerning Sea-gull’s parking lot, yes I see what you mean, I had the same experience arriving to one of the islands one day. I wish I had taken a picture and put it next to the one of Sea-gull’s Parking Lot I have (yes I have only one, the weather was that bad that day).
I wish I hadn’t missed Megi House, but if I understand correctly it’s there for the long term, right?
Actually, do you know how long the remaining artworks will stay? The official site implies permanently, which would be great, but I don’t want to be too optimistic about that.
I went when the university students were making Megi House and they told me their university plans to continue using and developing it for at least the next 10 years. I am guessing they will have retreats here in spring and summer holidays. The students were in music and performing arts so the house is a stage and they reused a lot of existing materials quite creatively. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get to any of the performances during the festival.
Thanks. 10 years! Sounds good to me. 🙂
Yeah it’s funny, as I mentioned, Megi House is the only artwork that I saw being built last year, and I totally forgot to visit it when I was on the island last Fall.
Every time I read one of your posts I realize I have to get back down and visit that area again.
Great! That’s the goal!
(Sometimes I think that I should contact Kagawa’s Tourism Office so that they put me on their payroll 😉 )