This summer, Ibukijima welcomes the Setouchi Triennale for the first time.

Among the artworks that you can see there until september 1st is Nocture by Tomoko Mukaiyama.

It’s basically two badly damages pianos that come from a school of Ishinomaki in the Miyagi prefecture. It is one of the cities that was the most badly hit by the March 2011 tsunami. The two pianos have been collected and transformed into works of art:


Nocturne by Tomoko Mukaiyama - 1


Nocturne by Tomoko Mukaiyama - 2


Nocturne by Tomoko Mukaiyama - 3


Honestly, I have very mixed feelings about this work. Sure, the look and the atmosphere created by those pieces are both eerie and interesting – that is strongly helped by the fact that they are presented in a dark abandoned house, not sure the feeling would be the same when the artwork is seen in a gallery or museum as I believe it has been previously presented elsewhere. But I can’t help feeling uneasy about the fact that this piece of art “uses” the immense tragedy that hit northern Japan two years ago. I’m torn between “it’s a good thing”; a homage to the victims? creating something positive (art) from something negative (the tsunami) and “it’s a terrible thing” (the act of using those pianos can also be seen as some sort of tragedy profiter). Not sure really.



6 thoughts on “Nocturne by Tomoko Mukaiyama on Ibukijima”

  1. I know how you feel about that. Looking at the pictures makes the work look very eerie. I think it is necessary to keep things like that on display to remind people of the tragedy. Look at the 9/11 memorial. It has a lot of pieces from the tragedy on display. I think the setting definitely makes it more interesting though. Thanks for the insight into this.

    1. Yes, that’s why I’m not exactly against the idea, just uncertain about it. I does make the tragedy more real to us. But creating art from it the right way to do it? I have no answer to that question. Is there even one?

      1. Personally, I think it is necessary to create art out of tragedy. I don’t think we should profit from it though. Artists use it as self expression of their own feelings. I think of it similar to how you or I would blog about the events soon afterwards. We need a way to get our emotions out to the world.

        The choice of location is a little different though. The Setouchi Triennale is a good place to put it temporarily as it is a great way to get the message out to people about the tragedy. In terms of a permanent exhibit, a place in Fukushima or Miyagi would be best, in my own personal opinion.

        Either way, looks like a powerful exhibit. BTW, do you know what the pink stuff in the second picture is? I couldn’t figure it out.

        1. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s very important to create art from tragedies. It’s a very important part of the process of making sense out of them, mourning, coping and such.
          What I’m not too sure about is using “physical parts of the tragedy” to do so.

          I’m not too sure about the pink stuff either, but I think it is candle wax.

          1. I completely understand where you are coming from. I didn’t get anything “wrong”. 🙂 I just wanted to ramble my own feelings too. It’s hard to really convey our thoughts, but I think we are completely on the same page.

            I think another visit to Ibukijima and a sample of the pink stuff is in order. 😉 j/k

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.