A Sacred Space

The term “Sacred Space” doesn’t come easily to me. I’ve been in some as defined by others and a few that are self-defined — but that self-definition is rare. The museum at Teshima is just such a space.

First the details, inadequate as they are: Teshima Art Museum opened in 2010 as part of the Benesse Art Site’s desire to extend its project onto the island of Teshima. Conceptualized and designed by the architect Ryue Nishizawa and the artist Rei Naito, the Art Space is a single-shell, white concrete structure, approximately 10 inches thick. Twelve feet at its highest point, dome-like in shape and 180 feet long, the structure has neither pillars nor walls inside and is exposed to the outside with two wide openings. Matrix, created by Naito, is constructed from underground water, concrete, stones, ribbons, threads (one lengthy thin thread moving with the wind at each aperture) and beads. Each morning, the space is empty. Then drops of water emerge on the floor in various places through tiny openings; rivulets begin to form, sometimes flowing into approximately one-inch drainage holes, other times leaving pools of water.

Just walking into the space, with special shoes, is beyond breathtaking — and then standing (no place to sit except the concrete floor) for more than an hour watching the formation of water drops and rivulets is beyond meditative and beyond my ability to explain adequately. Since photography inside is prohibited, I’ve taken photos of pictures from a book, but still, inadequate:

We are talking about rivulets and drops of water




If you’ve been to Naoshima and not gone to Teshima, go back. If you “do” bucket lists, put Teshima on, if not close to, the top.  If you’ve never heard of these places, call for (airline) reservations now. Go to Teshima!



4 thoughts on “A Sacred Space

      1. Thank you! Now I’m regretting not buying the book myself when I was there. Unfortunately I didn’t know at the time I would end up doing research on the building. Hopefully I can find some way of getting my hands on it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s