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Open Sky

Naoshima, often called the art island, is known for its many museums and outdoor sculptures. The artwork that inspired me the most on my recent visit was James Turrell's Open Sky. The piece consists of a room with a large square opening above. What you see is the sky. Nice and simple. Because it is cropped and, in a way, framed, the subtle changes in the sky become apparent. It is mesmerizing. The idiom associated with traditional Japanese tea ceremony, "Ichigo Ichie," comes to mind. It means that any moment in life is unique and will never repeat itself; therefore, it is precious. I was filled with an overwhelming sense of peace and beauty. The success of this piece also relies on where and how it is displayed. It is housed in the Chichu (underground) Art Museum, designed by Tadao Ando. As the name suggests, the museum is almost entirely built underground to avoid altering the natural landscape. There is no grand entrance either, just a discrete opening cut out of the concrete outer wall. You walk through a subdued corridor and come across an open space. Then you step back in and enter the exhibition rooms, designed exclusively to display the works of James Turrell and two other artists. It was off-season and, therefore, pretty empty. If there had been more people or a line, I doubt I would have had the same experience.

The corridor

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