Echigo Tsumari: Festival Highlights

Over 100 artworks by artists from Japan and from across the world are exhibited around the rural Echigo Tsumari region, producing an intriguing combination of modern art with a traditional countryside backdrop. All of the art is related to the region's people, landscape or social issues, and a lot of pieces incorporate vacant houses or abandoned schools, which are numerous due to the depopulation trend. The buildings are used as exhibition spaces or are transformed into artworks themselves.

Rather than concentrated in a single location, the art exhibits are scattered around the Echigo-Tsumari area. Many of them are in the open air, in rice fields, beside rivers or in the villages. While some of the exhibits are near the town centers, others stand in remote places that are quite difficult to access.

The following is an incomplete list of some of the outstanding permanent art exhibits. Around 200 more temporary artworks are added during the Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale held every three years.

Tokamachi Area

Exhibit number: T025
Echigo-Tsumari Exchange Center "Kinare"
By Hiroshi Hara + ATELIER, Japan
Built in 2003
Reached in a 10-15 minute walk from Tokamachi Station, the Kinare is the festival's main stage and information center. The center houses a museum that displays artwork from over a dozen artists, a cafe, and a public hot spring bath.

Exhibit number: T155
restructure
By Yukutake Harumi, Japan
Built in 2006
House covered by mirrors on the inside and outside. It is only open on weekends and national holidays when the triennial is not going on.

Kawanishi Area

Exhibit number: K005
House of Light
By James Turrell, USA
Built in 2000
This house combines traditional Japanese interior design with the artistic use of light. It is possible to stay overnight in the House of Light.

Exhibit number: K002-005, 007, 009-013, 022-023
Nakago Green Park
By various artists
Built from 2000-2012
Almost 20 artworks are stationed around this city park and golf course, including the House of Light. The nearby campgrounds are home to another half dozen artworks.

Matsudai Area

Exhibit number: D053
Noh Butai Snow-Land Agrarian Culture Center
By MVRDV, The Netherlands
Built in 2003
Five minutes from Matsudai Station on foot, the Noh Butai is another of the festival's stages and information centers. The Noh Butai houses a small museum, observatory, restaurant, and shop. Several dozen artworks are located around the base of the center and along the nearby hillside.

Exhibit number: D001
The Rice Field
By Iliya & Emilia Kabakov, Russia
Built in 2003
Sculptures in terraced rice fields combined with poems, when viewed from the Noh Butai.

Exhibit number: D006
Scarecrow Project
By Oscar Satio Oiwa, Brazil
Built in 2000
Red figures, depicting a farmer's family, working in a terraced rice field.

Exhibit number: D132
Mountain
By Richard Deacon, United Kingdom
Built in 2006
Sculpture along a remote mountain road.

Exhibit number: D143
Shedding House
By Kurakake Junichi + University College of Art Sculpture Course, Japan
Built in 2006
Carvings cover the walls, pillars and floors of this abandoned house. It is only open on weekends and national holidays when the triennial is not going on. It is also closed during winter.

Matsunoyama Area

Exhibit number: Y052
The Last Class
By Christian Boltanski + Jean Kalman, France
Built in 2006
An abandoned school turned into a haunted house like art object. It is only open on weekends and national holidays when the triennial is not going on. It is also closed during winter.

Exhibit number: Y013
Dream House
By Marina Abranovic, Former Yugoslavia
Built in 2000
Another of the art exhibits that double functions as an accommodation. Guests are asked to record their dreams into a book in the following morning. It is only open on weekends and national holidays when the triennial is not going on. It is also closed during winter.

Exhibit number: Y082/083
Australia House
By Andrew Burns, Australia
Built in 2003
Built to replace the former Australia House which was destroyed in a recent earthquake, the new Australia House was constructed as a symbol of Japanese-Australian cultural exchange. The sharp angled, triangular building was the result of a design competition and includes traditional elements of both Japanese and Australian architecture.

Nakasato Area

Exhibit number: N028
For Lots of Lost Windows
By Utsumi Akiko, Japan
Built in 2006
A window to rediscover the ordinary view of the landscape.

Exhibit number: N019
POTEMKIN
By Architect Office Casagrande & Rintala, Finland
Built in 2003
Former illegal dumping ground turned into a riverside park.

JR Iiyama Line Art Project
By various artists
Built in 2012
Various artworks have been built next to train stations along the JR Iiyama Line. Most are only open on weekends and national holidays when the triennial is not going on.

Tsunan Area

Exhibit number: M024
0121-1110=109071
By Lee Jaehyo, Korea
Built in 2009
Three artistically shaped wooden globes, blending in perfectly with the forested backdrop.

Exhibit number: M001
DMOCA (Dragon Museum of Contemporary Art)
By Cai Guo Qiang, China /USA
Built in 2000
A dragon-shaped furnace built with earth, stones and bricks. The whiskers are made of tubes with special openings which, when blown through, make sounds with various pitches.

Guide to the Echigo Tsumari Art Field:

Get There and Around

How to get to and around the Echigo Tsumari Art Field

Last updated: October 28, 2013
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