Japan’s Echigo-Tsumari region needed revitalization and the triennial held here attracts 300,000 visitors proving that art can provide economic stimulus, according to Emmanuelle Lequeux . Held over a wide area in the region, 200 artists from around the world created 360 works, 200 of those are available all year round. In addition, the four triennials have been instrumental in the renovation of 50 abandoned Japanese homes that are now restored, ,such as:
House of Light, a traditional house transformed by the American artist JamesTurrell into a light box with a roof that opens up to allow guests to contemplate the changing sky. Or they can curl up in another old house redesigned by Marina Abramovic, the grande dame of performance art, as a Dream Hotel complete with crystal pillows.
The scenery, totally at odds with the white cube style of contemporary art, certainly inspires. Christian Boltanski has set up one of his largest installations in a disused school house, where light bulbs sway to whirring fans on school benches set on a straw-covered floor, and there are catafalques of white sheeting and neon lights with palpitating heartbeat sounds, resembling a tomb for contemporary illusions that makes visitors’ hearts beat curiously. When they leave they may record their heartbeats for another of the artist’s global projects.
The abandoned houses with their noble wooden structures and bewitching scents of the past seem to provide the greatest inspiration to the artists. The Triennial has saved and restored some 50 of these architectural masterpieces over the last four editions. “Here the artists work with time and memory and they are happy to do so because it rekindles their inspiration,” said Fram Kitagawa.
For instance Claude Lévêque, who represented France at the Venice Biennale, used the tools of the former farmer occupant to create a very specific universe of his own, with pulsing red lights, strange sounds and vapour resembling the early morning mountain mist. Or Anthony Gormley, the British artist, has created a masterpiece with Another Singularity by pulling hundreds of ropes and bungees from the ceiling to form an invasive cobweb that visitors can
The Canadian artist, Janet Cardiff, exhibits another successful work called Storm Room. Visitors enter a simple house in bright sunshine but thunder soon begins to rumble from a distance, with a breeze and a few drops of rain, and then breaks violently overhead. The false ceiling starts to leak and rain beats down on the windows. Then the storm abates and visitors walk out into the sunshine again.
How Modern Art is Revitalizing Japan’s Disaster Area (GuardianWeekly)