Just off the coast of Okayama-ken lies the tiny island of INUJIMA (犬島), home to the Inujima Art Project “Refinery” (犬島アートプロジェクト精錬所), the latest in a series of projects by the Bennesse Art Corporation to encourage regional revitalization through architecture and contemporary art. Using local granite and waste products from the smelting process, architect Sambuichi Hiroshi has transformed the long-abandoned buildings and smokestacks of an old copper refinery into a strikingly beautiful eco-building and art space, where solar power and geothermal cooling create a naturally air-conditioned environment. Working closely with the architect, the artist Yanagi Yukinori has used the dismantled childhood home of the novelist Mishima Yukio as the basis for a site-specific artwork. Doors, windows and sliding screens are taken out of context and suspended from the ceiling in a dimly lit industrial space, while porcelain bathroom fittings are juxtaposed against a raked gravel surround, creating an installation that symbolizes the contradictions inherent in the modernization of Japan.

 

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