“Towada Art Center,” an art spot where you can feel the art pieces up close on the street and town
Towada-shi, Aomori is a city blessed with beautiful nature such as the mountain stream of Oirase and Lake Towada. This is also the home of “Towada Art Center,” an art spot enticing people sensitive to art from not only around Japan but the world. The center’s concept is “a house of art,” and it permanently exhibits 38 pieces of 33 artists that play on domestic/global stage including Ron Mueck and Yayoi Kusama. The display is done in a costly way; each work by the artist is placed in one exhibition room that comes in all sizes, which are connected by glazed corridor. Also, you will find works in a plaza and streets nearby; the whole town is there for you to experience contemporary art, which is one of the charm of the area.
Two iconic works at the center, <<Flower Horse>> and <<Standing Woman>>
Choi Jeong Hwa <<Flower Horse>> photo by Kuniya Oyamada
You will find numerous iconic works at “Towada Art Center.” One of the representative works is <<Flower Horse>> by Choi Jeong Hwa, displayed near the entrance. Horse is used as a subject since Towada has been home of fine horses from old times; this voluminous work, covered in countless flowers, has the height of 5.5 meters.
If you look at the rainbow-colored flowers against the background of the center’s white wall, you will feel the contrast becoming more prominent; you will definitely be impressed by the horse’s powerful presence.
Ron Mueck <<Standing Woman>> photo by Kuniya Oyamada
Another representative work is <<Standing Woman>> by Ron Mueck. It is a 4 meter-high statue of an old lady; her aging skin, etched wrinkles, grizzled hair, the blood vessels seen through her skin, and etc., are surprisingly elaborately displayed. The more you look, the more you feel the old lady is real; some moments later, you will have a weird sensation, under an illusion-like feeling, “Am I the one who’s shrinking?” Do meet her with your own eyes.
Ana Laura Aláez <<Bridge of Light>>© Mami Iwasaki
Other than individual exhibition rooms, there are small pieces of work displayed everywhere around the premise, including patio, rooftop, stairs, and inside the elevators; this center will never bore the visitors. You can fully bask yourself in the world of contemporary art.
An extraordinary space of art expanding toward Towada’s streets.
Yayoi Kusama <<Love Forever, Singing in Towada>> photo by Kuniya Oyamada
The work of art spreads in and around Towada Art Center. Between Kanchogai-dori Avenue and the center, you will find “Art Square,” where pieces of work are installed to be enjoyed for free.
Among the many pieces of work by artists from Japan and the world, the most eye-catching is <<Love Forever, Singing in Towada>> by Yayoi Kusama, master of contemporary art. The work is composed of eight sculptures of pumpkin, girl, dogs, and mushrooms which are decorated in vivid polka dots, symbol of Yayoi Kusama. The vibrant worldview somehow merges into common scenery, and paints the town of Towada in artistic color.
Erwin Wurm <<Fat House>> <<Fat Car>> photo by: Kuniya Oyamada
Also, scattered around Kanchogai-dori Avenue facing the center are six work called “street furniture” which can be used as seats. They are all unique, looking like a titanic pillow, vase with flowers, and etc. You can enjoy strolling though the town while searching for artwork.
Whenever you feel like taking a break amid appreciating art, stop by “Cube café＆shop” which is inside the center. You will spend a relaxing teatime within an artistic atmosphere, with Michael Lin’s colorful painting on the floor. The menu is diverse, and you can order sandwiches, spaghetti, dry curry that are made from local vegetables. They also offer apple pies made from apples, Aomori’s specialty, as well as brandy cakes of local confectionery.