An Unmissable Tourist Attraction: Setouchi Triennale 2022
“Missing Japan so much!” is supposed to be the shared feelings of those called Japanese travel enthusiasts. Before visiting Japan, you might as well take a peek at what amazing artistic creations are on display in the just-finished spring session of the Setouchi Triennale 2022. Look forward to visiting this art festival in the future soon.

PhotoSetouchi Triennale

TextWenchien Wu

The last Setouchi Triennale was held in 2019. And in 2022, the triennial art festival will last for eight months with three main sessions, including the just-ended spring session, the coming summer session, and the autumn session. Some of the exhibition halls are still open to visitors even if it's not during the exhibition period. This could be called a triennial art pageant of Japan.

According to the official statistics, it reveals that the number of visitors was up to 220,000 attending this spring session. The top five popular islands are in order from the Naoshima, Shamijima, Shodoshima, Teshima, and Takamatsu Port. There had more than 50,000 visitors been to the island of Naoshima. And over 10,000 people had visited each of the rest Ogijima, Megijima, Inujima, and Uno Port.

Capture Brilliant Smiles of Old People on the Islands
Theme of 2022: Restoration of the Sea
While opening the main visual of the Setouchi Triennale 2022, you could see the posters that captured three elder people and the beautiful scenery of the island. The subject of this Triennale aims to let visitors come to the islands of Seto Inland Sea to feel the beauty that harmonizes nature, culture, and art.
As time goes by, a strategic location in the history of Japan, the Seto Inland Sea, has to forge ahead for the situations of globalization, homogenization, and population ageing. Population decline isn't the only problem to face up to, either each of the dozen islands in the Seto Inland Sea region loses their exclusive features. So, the promotion of this Triennale aims to help people know more about local culture and farming through these artworks on display and then turn this region into the "Sea of Hope."

Naoshima Pavilion Owner:Naoshima Town Architect:Sou Fujimoto Architects Photo/Jin Fukuda

Naoshima: the Most Popular Island
It's not difficult to find out that Naoshima is the most popular island of the Setouchi Triennale through the number of visitors. Yayoi Kusama's iconic Red Pumpkin is the highlight among the displayed artworks on the Naoshima island. More than that, Sou Fujimoto's Naoshima Pavilion is comprised of 250 stainless steel mesh triangles. It'll turn into a floating island when it's illuminated at night.
Some of the artistic creations from the past exhibitions are still kept over here. Like the Naoshima Port Terminal by KAZUYO SEJIMA + RYUE NISHIZAWA / SANAA, it's a cumulonimbus-cloud-styled building composed of 13 semitranslucent, fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) spheres, 4 meters in diameter each. This building is complete with a waiting room, bike parking, and washrooms. It's not just a catchy installation art but a landmark building locally.

Kazuyo Sejima+Ryue Nishizawa "Naoshima Port Terminal" Photo:Daisuke Aochi

Naoshima Pavilion Owner:Naoshima Town Architect:Sou Fujimoto Architects Photo/Jin Fukuda

Imagination from Overseas Artists
Aside from the artistic creations by Japanese artists made for the Setouchi region, the Triennale also invites a contemporary artist and architect duo from Australia, Heather B.Swann + Nonda Katsalidis. They place a cast iron bench, named Place for Sea Dreamers, on the beach. This bench looks like a fretwork-styled canoe yet a fishing net. The artwork aims to invite travelers to have a seat and look out over the neighboring islands within the Seto Inland Sea.


Heather B.Swann + Nonda Katsalidis "Place for sea dreamers" Photo: Kioku Keizo 

Glimmering Glass on the Megijima Island
When it comes to reviving the glory of the ocean, what comes first would be the relationship between the ocean and fish. Therefore, Kentaro Yanagi, a glass sculptor in Tokyo, makes the fishing tackle with glass and hangs each of the glass-made fishhooks on the ceiling to create a glimmering exhibition space. Such a creation expresses Yanagi's profound respect for the ocean as a fisherman, his other career.

Kentaro Yanagi "Glass fisherman" Photo: KIOKU Keizo

Timeless Artworks vs. Restoration of Setouchi Region
Different from normal art festivals, many of the artworks in the Setouchi Triennale are still kept locally even though they had been displayed years ago. For those who are new to visiting the Triennale, new and old artistic creations could always bring something new to them as these are timeless artworks.

Toshimitsu Ito + Kana Kou + Hiroshima City University, Faculty of Arts ”Shiomimi-so” Photo: ICHIKAWA Yasushi

Setouchi Triennale 2022
Venue: The islands of Seto Inland Sea
Spring session (from April 14th to May 18th)
Summer session (from August 5th to September 4th)
Autumn session (from September 29th to November 6th)

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SetouchiTriennale Naoshima Shamijima Shodoshima Teshima Ogijima Megijima Inujima YiiArt