Isobe works herald rebirth for museum


Staff Writer

‘Scrap and build” used to be the mantra of Japanese developers when approaching out-of-date structures. The theory was that Japanese people preferred their buildings to be in a more-or-less constant state of “newness” — a la Ise Shrine, which is rebuilt every two decades.

But in the cash-strapped world of art museum management, a new approach is becoming increasingly common: renovation. Last year the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum reopened after a thorough revamp, and this year — this weekend, in fact — Ichihara Lakeside Museum in Chiba Prefecture will reopen after an extensive reworking.

Once home to a collection of “touchable” sculpture, the museum — as reimagined by young architects Naoko Kawaguchi and Jinyu Tei — now has an airy gallery for temporary exhibitions of contemporary art. For a special event planned to celebrate the facility’s reopening, that gallery has been filled with the work of Yukihisa Isobe, an ecological planner-turned-artist whose latest works explore new approaches to mapping and visualizing Earth.

There is more to look forward to next year, too. From March 21 till May 11, the museum will serve as a key venue for a brand new arts festival, “Naka-Boso International Art Festival Ichihara Art X Mix,” which is currently being arranged by curator Fram Kitagawa, of “Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale” fame.

“Yukihisa Isobe: Environment, Image, Representation,” will be held at the Ichihara Lakeside Museum in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, from Aug. 3 till Nov. 4. For more information, call 0436-98-1525 or visit www.lsm-ichihara.jp.