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Light of Shodoshima


Light of Shodoshima (小豆島の光) by Taiwanese artist Wen-Chih Wang was one of the most impressive artworks from the Setouchi Triennale 2013. I’m using the past tense, because unfortunately, it was dismantled last month.

What made it so special is also what prevented it from being a permanent fixture of Art Setouchi: it was built entirely of bamboo, and sooner or later the weather and outdoor conditions damaged it enough so that it couldn’t be left standing anymore.

It’s actually the second version of the artwork; back in 2010, at the same location, in the Nakayama valley on Shodoshima, Mr. Wang had build the House of Shodoshima. The original artwork had lasted less than a year (it faced a pretty strong typhoon followed by the relatively harsh winter), Light of Shodoshima lasted almost two years; maybe because its more “simple” design made it more resistant (just a guess from my part), maybe because the weather wasn’t as bad. No idea.

Now, all we can hope is that Wen-Chih Wang comes back in 2016 to build a third version of House of Shodoshima / Light of Shodoshima.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from my first visit, back in April 2013, about a month after it opened. As you’ll see the bamboo was still relatively green. When I find the time, I’ll post pictures of my second visit, six months later, you’ll see that it had changed already.


Light of Shodoshima - 01


Light of Shodoshima - 19


Light of Shodoshima - 17


(as usual, click on the images in the gallery – and from there you can navigate with the arrow keys – to see them in their original size)




9 thoughts on “Light of Shodoshima”

  1. I really wanted to visit this one but just couldn’t get the time to go to Shodoshima. Maybe at the next one, but not sure if I’ll have time either. Maybe I won’t go to Naoshima and Inujima, but that is hard to do. Naoshima is easy to cut though. 😀

    1. Obviously, I don’t know what’s going to be on Shodoshima in 2016, but you should go no matter what. The island itself is wonderful, and while in 2010 it just tiptoed into the Triennale, it really embraced it in 2013, and the art there was really fascinating for the most part. Now Shodoshima being such a big island, it’s pretty hard to navigate through it without a car (the bus system is OK, but there aren’t enough busses a day, maybe they’ll change that for 2016) and it’s pretty hard to see everything in one day (I think we went three times, and still didn’t see everything).

      One advice is to skip Naoshima and Inujima altogether in 2016, if 2010 and 2013 are an indication, the new art of these islands will be scarce if any (both islands are kinda “full”). I assume there will be the same number of artworks on Ogijima and Megijima. I assume (but just an assumption at this point) that there will be quite a few new ones on Teshima (not that many in 2013 and I feel that Benesse has been focusing its development efforts on Teshima lately, plus some temporary art from the Triennale itself).
      Shodoshima I don’t know, but I assume it will be similar to 2013, what they need to change is that if the art is as spread out as 2013, they need more public transportation, I don’t know if they can – the main issue that the islands are facing during the Triennale, is that sometimes they simply don’t have enough boats and busses and such to increase drastically their frequency.

      We’ll see.
      A few weeks or months before the Triennale next year, I’ll try to write a “visitor guide” with tips and tricks for visitors or something like that.

      1. With that information, I guess I can expect to skip Naoshima. I do want to go back to Inujima and just chill at the cafe for an afternoon. Kinda like Onba on Ogijima. Recently I just like relaxing in a quite place and enjoying the atmosphere. The cafe on Inujima just seemed great. I could sit there drinking beers for a few hours and chatting with a friend. Maybe I’ll stop by on the way to Okayama and do a small tour of the area across in Okayama as they tend to have more ferries going there. Who knows though.

        Shodoshima has scooter rentals? Might do that instead then. 🙂 Still not sure what I would do though. Gotta wait till the new guidebook is published. Then I can decide on what to do.

        1. I don’t think there are scooter rentals on Shodoshima. There are car rentals, but I think that they’re quite pricey.
          In 2013, Shodoshima was the hardest to navigate indeed. The best may be to just spend a night there. Actually, that’s what we did in the Spring, but we also visited other stuff on the island (Olive grove, 24 eyes studio town, etc) as my parents were there and it was their first time on Shodoshima.

          But yeah, the best will be to wait for the announcement of the new artworks, but you could keep Inujima for a time when you go to / pass through Okayama not during the Triennale.
          Actually, I’m not sure what café you’re talking about on Inujima. The main one where you buy the tickets? I found it very meh, and the staff wasn’t that nice, which is rare and shocking.

          1. No scooters? That’s too bad. I’m sure I can figure it out by that time. Maybe even hitchhiking is a possibility, but these are just random thoughts in my head right now.

            I did think about visiting the olive grove. They are famous for their olives after all. Just need time to consider it. Not even sure if I can go in 2016 to be honest. With things changing in life, it is hard to tell if I’ll have the time. 🙁

            The cafe is Trees. I went last time but couldn’t go for lunch. We went to the small shop next door and after eating the donburi, we went to Trees for beer and coffee. Was a nice quaint place to just chill out.

            No, I wouldn’t consider the main cafe a good place. 😉

          2. Don’t mark my words Dru, I never really paid attention what’s for rental and what’s not on Shodoshima.
            However, I do remember rental bikes (electrical ones? probably) in Mito Peninsula, the only part of Shodoshima that’s difficult to access by bus.

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