My visit to the Chichu Art Museum was somewhat of an art pilgrimage. My journey started with a flight across the Pacific Ocean, followed with several bullet trains, a ferry through the beautiful Seto inland sea for Naoshima island, and at last, a walk of a few miles by a serene landscape to find a vessel for art under a veil of green grass. While many modern museums use its architecture to make a statement, the Chichu Art Museum—Japanese for “in the earth”— opted to become one with its natural settings.
Architect Tadao Ando built the museum with the intent to "rethink the relationship between nature and people.” He also gave himself the challenge of using sun as the sole light source for the artwork. The museum is primarily made of steel, glass and concrete with many galleries designed specifically for the art pieces from Claude Monet, James Turrell, and Walter De Maria. I’ll never forget how the water lilies in the Monet painting glowed and came to life under ambient light. While underground, guided by natural light pouring from above, I felt like I was in a futuristic cave discovering relics from the past. The art, along with the architecture fused with nature, make Chichu Art Museum the most illuminating museum I’ve ever been too.