“Symbiosis: Living Island” Explores the Pioneering “Art House Project” Revitalizing the Japanese Island of Inujima
LOS ANGELES – March 28, 2023 – Explore the groundbreaking Inujima “Art House Project” with “Symbiosis: Living Island,” an exhibition on view at JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles from April 15 – July 5, 2023. Designed to revitalize the depopulated Japanese island of Inujima (“Dog Island”) by integrating contemporary art, the Inujima “Art House Project” creates a unique symbiosis between art, architecture, community, and ecology that has been transforming the landscape of Inujima. The exhibition celebrates and transports visitors to this “living art” island through the sights and sounds of everyday island life, captured through an experiential diorama of the island and its art pavilions.
The tiny island of Inujima was once a thriving center of copper refining and stone quarrying. With a terrain that can be walked around in an hour, it is now home to just twenty-five households, with more than half of the inhabitants over seventy years of age. In 2008, Inujima was transformed through art as it became one of the locations of the celebrated Benesse Art Site Naoshima project (development activities spearheaded by Benesse Holdings, Inc. and Fukutake Foundation in the Seto Inland Sea).
Yuko Hasegawa, director of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, was hired as the artistic director of the Inujima “Art House Project” and conceived of an environment where art, community, and ecology are harmoniously intertwined. The island now features five art pavilions, alongside outdoor exhibits which evolve with the landscape over time. “Symbiosis: Living Island” is curated by Hasegawa alongside internationally renowned Pritzker Prize-winning architect Kazuyo Sejima.
“The Inujima ‘Art House Project’ exemplifies how to reinvigorate an isolated island community through the symbiosis of art and architecture that involves the local community and celebrates the environment,” said Yuko Kaifu, president, JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles. “We invite visitors to step foot on this ‘living art’ island through this exhibition – an island with a sense of symbiosis that will enable it to thrive for many years to come.”
The Inujima “Art House Project” consists of pavilions and art galleries on Inujima with artist works created in a sustainable manner that enriches the lives of the residents. The island now hosts a series of galleries made from recycled materials, transparent acrylic and aluminum, each structure reflecting and preserving the landscape, ecology, and industrial heritage. The project recently expanded to include a botanical garden, a bar, and amenities for visitors to stay on the island.
Based on the road that encircles Inujima, visitors to the “Symbiosis: Living Island” exhibition can “set foot” onto the island to travel the road and explore the creative projects that have come to form part of Inujima’s landscape. The island comes to life through an experiential diorama of the island (including architectural models of the art pavilions), documentary videos, and testimonies from residents on the project’s transformative impact on their lives.
Within the exhibition, Hasegawa has highlighted the work of three artists featured on the island – Beatriz Milhazes from Brazil and Haruka Kojin and Yusuke Komuta from Japan – alongside Inujima landscape imagery by renowned photographer Takashi Homma. These wide-ranging works convey a vision of Inujima as a living entity and potential blueprint of coexistence for the future.
The exhibition will also include related programs through the duration of the exhibition from April – July. Admission to the exhibition is free. Walk-ins are invited and the gallery is open daily from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Mon. – Fri.) and 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Sat. – Sun.).
ABOUT JAPAN HOUSE
JAPAN HOUSE is an innovative, worldwide project with three hubs – London, Los Angeles and Sao Paulo – conceived by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. It seeks to nurture a deeper understanding and appreciation of Japan in the international community. Occupying two floors at Ovation Hollywood (formerly Hollywood & Highland), JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles offers a place of new discovery that transcends physical and conceptual boundaries creating experiences that reflect the best of Japan through its spaces and diverse programs.
Location: 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028