KAN YASUDA SCULPTURE MUSEUM ARTE PIAZZA BIBAI
How To Experience the Renowned Japanese Artist's Sculptures
There’s something curious and unusual about the way one should approach a sculpture of Kan Yasuda Sculpture Museum – Arte Piazza Bibai. Instead of look at the sculpture from a distance, the artist implicitly asks you to walk closer, touch the surface of this smoothly undulating creature and, literally, turn your back to it. At the sculpture museum, Yasuda invites you to lie down on the sturdiest element – whether marble or bronze – to observe the presence of the space above and around you, the surreal scenery of Hokkaido’s nature. As soon as you feel the density and regularity of the marble under your body, you gain a renewed appreciation for the sunlight, the air, the sky. You suddenly realise how heavy stones can somehow make you feel lighter.
Kan Yasuda was born in Bibai, Hokkaido, a town that was well known throughout Japan for mining coal. When Japan decided to change its energy policy, coal yielded to oil and coal mines suddenly closed. Yama, the coalmine district of the city, has reverted to a wilderness asset and the coalmine housing, railway buildings, the hospital, the school decayed. In this corner of bush, forest and memories, the city of Bibai asked Kan to create a monument what would memorialise the coalmine community.
In 1992 he initiated a sculpture park project called “Arte Piazza”. He turned the old elementary school site into a place where people could gather, find themselves, recuperate their energy and “enjoy the freedom of being”, surrounded by sculptures and nature. The park is spread over 70,000 sqm with no fences nor entrance fees. At its opening there were five sculptures, now the park counts more than 40 art pieces. The site includes a collection of art housed in the former school building and a cozy cafe with a view to the park. Arte Piazza explores a way of being through nature: sculptures stays permanent and almost unchanged while seasons take turns.
Kan Yasuda Sculpture Museum Arte Piazza
Ochiaicho Sakaemachi, Bibai, Hokkaido, Japan
The open air museum can be reached via car or train 50 minutes from Sapporo.
Photography: Luca Mazzucchelli & Benedetta Anghileri
Words: Benedetta Anghileri
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