From the 1st to the 8th of September, the “CONTACT Where the World Meet Japanese Art and Culture” exhibition will be held at one of Japan’s most well-known cultural properties and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kiyomizu-dera Temple.
Held in conjunction with the ICOM Kyoto 2019 General Conference, Japanese novelist and former curator Maha Harada worked as the director and curator of this exhibition which was established with the purpose of reconnecting the divided post-war world through the medium of museums.
In Japan, temples were said to originally provide places for artists to live, while also giving them the opportunity to showcase their works. Personally, I thought this call back to the past made the exhibition that much more fascinating.
I absolutely love temples, so was very interested in going to this exhibition. Below we put together an article which showcases our experience there and will hopefully be helpful to those thinking of going themselves.
We began making our way to the exhibition with the aim of getting the “morning ticket” which is 200 yen cheaper than normal, and so arrived before 9 AM.
Pictured here is the road leading up to the world-famous Kiyomizu-dera Temple. This area is usually packed with tourists, but as we had gotten there early, it was relatively quiet and nice to walk around.
Finally, we made it to the temple! Again, there weren’t many people up here either.
As we looked around, we spotted a sign for the exhibition on the right. It was already 8:53 so we weren’t sure if we could snag the morning tickets or not.
As we began to line up, we figured out that the right line was for people with advanced tickets. Since we hadn’t purchased advanced tickets and were planning to purchase them on the day, we lined up on the left side.
This is what the exhibition ticket looks like. Only two minutes had passed, so we thought we would be able to get our hands on the morning tickets, but sadly, we had to buy them at the normal price. The website states that the “morning tickets” are sold between 7 and 9 AM; however, they apparently meant you must purchase the tickets after 7 and leave by 9. It wasn’t just us either, there were quite a few people there being told the same thing, so definitely watch out when you go!
Okay, let’s not dwell on that for too long and head inside.
The exhibition is spread across four areas, the “Umatodome (Horse stand)” “Sai-mon (West gate)” “Kyodo (House for Buddhist sutra)” and the “Jojuin.”
The first we visited was the Umatodome, which use to houses horses.
In here, you will find the piece “Untitled” by artist Izumi Kato. Kato is known for creating both mysterious and powerful, seemingly primitive pieces that represent “Life.”
The idea of placing art inside an old horse stable was interesting and had quite the impactful.
At first, I felt a little uncomfortable, but as I continued to observe them, I began to get the strange feeling that the pieces had began blending into their surroundings.
Photography is allowed here, so feel free to take some pictures to remember the exhibit by.
The next destination on our list was Sai-mon. This “Untitled” piece by Izumi Kato was apparently explicitly made for this exhibition.
As we moved closer, we could see that the piece seemed entirely fitting as it filled up all corners of the western gate.
The piece was beautiful as it managed perfect harmony with the atmosphere of the gate. Photography was also allowed of this piece as well.
By the way, this was the back of the piece, which was just as diligently put together.
After getting our fill of Izumi Kato’s pieces, we moved on to the next exhibition space in “Kyodo.”
At the entrance there was a large signboard, so keep an eye out for it, and you’ll be able to find your way there. When you go inside, you will need to present your ticket, so make sure you have it on hand.
The pieces inside Kyodo aren’t allowed to be photographed, so we sadly don’t have any photos to show you. The exhibition pieces were of course incredible, but personally, as Kyodo isn’t usually open to the public, I was more excited to get the opportunity step inside and peep the dragon which features prominently on the roof of the hall.
This is a schedule for the “Moving Picture” piece projected inside Kyodo.
We didn’t make it in time so weren’t able to see it for ourselves, so highly recommend keeping your eye on the time when here and enjoying the mysteries it has in store for you.
After enjoying the pieces inside Kyodo, we moved onto the next and final exhibition location, “Jojuin.” On the way, we were met by this beautiful pond.
The road leading to Jojuin looked like this. You’ll see a big signboard posted outside, so there’s no way you’ll miss it.
Finally, we made it to Jojuin! You will need to present your ticket before entering this exhibition space too.
There is one important thing you need to know before heading inside. As the chashitsu tea room inside the temple is incredibly small, they have put a limit on the number of people allowed inside. When you present your ticket at the entrance, you will be given an entrance ticket with a specific time on it. When it gets to that time, you will be allowed inside. Depending on how crowded the exhibition is, you might have to wait around an hour to be let in, so please keep that in mind. The exhibition cannot be reentered, so you will have to spend your time exploring the grounds of the Kiyomizu-dera Temple while you wait.
No photography was allowed inside this exhibition space either, so I decided to get a photo outside instead.
Personally, the most impactful aspect of the exhibition was the garden pictured here.
Inside, Ritsue Mishima’s “Eyes of Light” was displayed; however, the traditional beauty of the Japanese garden fused completely naturally with the surrounding modern art, creating something truly magnificent! This part of the exhibition was so beautiful that it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that it’s worth coming here just to see it. I honestly could have spent all day staring at this part of the exhibition.
In addition, there were pieces by world-famous artists such as Osamu Tezuka and Henri Matisse, and overall, it was an incredibly fascinating exhibition!
This exhibition gives visitors the incredibly precious experience of being able to indulge in art in the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, so if you have the chance, we highly recommend checking it out!
Dates: September 1 – 8, 2019
Venue: Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Jojuin, Kyodo, Sai-mon, and Umatodome
Times: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM (Entrance only possible until 5:00 PM)
*The exhibition will run without holidays
Admissions: Adult – ￥1,800 / Children (Pre-elementary school) – free
*Morning Ticket (Enter from 7:00 AM – Leave by 9:00 AM): Adult – ￥1,600 / Children (Pre-elementary school) – free
|Yumemi[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]|