There are currently 20 outdoor works being displayed at the Benesse Art Site along the south coast of the island of Naoshima, an area of extreme scenic beauty. Four of these works are site specific and for which the artists lived on the island to produce. Some of the works are exclusively shown to hotel guests; however, the following works can be viewed by the public.
1. Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama (1994)
A yellow pumpkin located on a pier that can be found on the long sandy beach at the Benesse Art Site. The punpkin’s black dotted appearance radiates a vivid distinctiveness in the natural colors of the sea and mountains that surrounds it. By approaching the pier, you are stepping into Kusama’s world, surrounded by the sea. There is often a line of people who wish to take photos of the pumpkin or who want to hug it. The tip of the pumpkin is known to have once been washed away by the ocean waves. It was discovered by a local fisherman and replaced in its original position.
2. Cylinder Bisected by Plane by Dan Graham（1995）
A cylinder-shaped work made of reflective glass that reflects the surrounding scenery. The artwork was created by Dan Graham, a celebrated conceptual artist of vision and consciousness. Graham stayed on Naoshima while producing the work. It is divided into two pieces and people can enter both of these. When in one section, you can see the other section through a dividing wall, in which other people, the sea and buildings are reflected in an overlapping way, making the borders between the work and the scenery blur in an illusionary manner.
3. George Rickey
George Rickey is a sculptor who incorporates movement within sculptures. Three works by George Rickey are displayed on Naoshima. The huge artworks swing gently in the wind, surrounded by nature, allowing you to experience the flow of time in a relaxed manner. Ricky's works on Naoshima are Three Squares Vertical Diagonal (1972-82), Four Lines (1978-88) and Peristyle V (1963-95) (situated inside the “Park” building).
4. Time Exposed Mirtoan Sea, Sounion (1990) by Hiroshi Sugimoto
From the “seascapes” series by Sugimoto, exhibited in the outdoor space of the Benesse House Museum, two photos are exhibited on the southernmost cliff of the island, as if presenting them to the sea. You can only see these photos from a distance; however, simply by knowing that they are there, the artist highlights the relationship between humans and nature across time and space, through the changes that occurs to the work as it is exposed to the outside environment.
5. Seen/Unseen Known/Unknown (2000) by Walter De Maria
A huge granite sphere and gold-foiled sculpture, situated within a concrete-surrounded space, creates shadows that change as time passes, emphasizing the existence of light. The artist later produced Time/Timeless/No Time, which was exhibited at the Chichu Art Museum as an evolution of this piece.
6. Shinro Otake
Among Shinro Otake’s three “Shipyard Works” pieces, Cut Bow and Stern with Hole (both 1990) are exhibited at sites along the coast on the Benesse Art Site. The remaining piece, Bow with Hole (1990), can be seen on the second floor of the Benesse House Museum. They are made from the same materials and using the same procedures as for a real ship. They express another aspect of Otake’s work, somewhat different from works such as Naoshima Bath “I♥ yu” or Dentist, which is part of the House Project.
7. Cultural Melting Bath: Project for Naoshima by Cai Guo-Qiang
This piece is based on feng shui principles and features a bath where the “qi” of the earth that flows along the mountain ridges, conditioned by the oddly-shaped Chinese Taihu stone, pours into an American made hot tub, before exiting into the Seto Inland Sea. This is a site specific work that was created after the artist found the best qi spot on Naoshima.
8. Drink a Cup of Tea by Kazuo Katase（1987-94）
Located at the upper end of the pier at the Benesse House Museum, this is a Japanese- style teacup-shaped artwork that contains real water. The artist created the work after being inspired by a ritural performed by a Zen monk, “Eat it and drink a cup of tea,” which is said to express spirits for seeking truth. The artist's intension to relate the artwork to the surrounding landscape serves to welcome guests arriving to Art Island Naoshima on the ferry.
9. Final Call (1988) by Anthony Caro
The three dimensional work is constructed using rusted steel wires, with surfaces created by Anthony Caro, an internationally renowned artist of conceptual and monumental works made from iron and steel. It is situated to the side of the entrance to the “Park” building of the hotel.
10. Karel Appel and Niki de Saint Phalle
Karel Appel and Niki de Saint Phalle are both famous for creating colorful and unique works that have animal and human motifs. The turf area in front of the “Park” facility of the Museum Hotel is a particularly fun space that is dotted with the artists’ works. Frog and Cat was the first outdoor artworks installed on Naoshima.
・Karel Appel Frog and Cat, 1990
・Niki de Saint Phalle La Conversation, 1991
・Niki de Saint Phalle Camel, 1991
・Niki de Saint Phalle Elephant, 1991
・Niki de Saint Phalle Cat, 1991
・Niki de Saint Phalle Le Banc, 1989