PHOTO BY HYA
The Venice Biennale may get all the headlines, but an appealing alternative exists on the other side of the globe. The Setouchi Triennale, which has been held every three years since 2010, sprawls across 12 islands and two ports in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea (about five hours west of Tokyo by bullet train), showcasing world-class art in a remote location.
This year, more than 1 million visitors will view works from the likes of Olafur Eliasson and Yayoi Kusama, whose polka-dotted Red Pumpkin on Naoshima Island has become iconic. In particular, on nearby Shodoshima, festivalgoers can see how some artists work closely with locals. Island residents helped cut the bamboo for Taiwanese artist Wang Wen-Chih’s 50-foot-tall, hand-woven installation, Love in Shodoshima (pictured), which is near the terraced rice fields of Nakayama, an architectural wonder that could disappear if the local population continues to shrink. (One of the festival’s goals is to help revitalize the area.)
“The ‘love’ used here represents not only the love of men and women,” Wang says of the work’s title, “but also the relationship between people and land, people and nature, Nakayama and gratitude.”
Exhibits through November 4; admission $36, three-day ferry pass $23; setouchi-artfest.jp/en