Daily Inspirations

Nomura Hitoshi & Ando Tadao in Kobe

Nomura Hitoshi
‘Grus’ Score 012 Feb 11, 2004 07:27

We took a train from Kyoto to Kobe for Marihiko Hara’s performance at Kobe Art Village Center. Until this day Kobe beef had been the only thing I knew about the city. I decided to spend my three hours in Kobe at Hyogo Prefecture Museum of Art. To tell the truth, the exhibitions were not too impressive. Actually what threw me off was a special exhibition called “Toward Modernity,” art works that were included in national art competitions of the first 20th century held in Tokyo as well as in Seoul, Taipei, and Changchun under the control of Japan during the colonial era. I did not bother to purchase a separate ticket for a this exhibition, but I did look through a catalogue front to cover as I was drinking hot chocolate at the museum cafe. The exhibition reminded me of what my professor in graduate school told me: “All art is political whether you intend it to be more not.” Personally, I do not think much about my political position or how my art will be viewed from a political point of view. I am naturally more drawn to the universal themes of humanity such as spirituality and human’s relation to nature. Thus I will reserve my opinion on how the national competitions officiated by Japanese government has influenced modern art of Korea.


Despite some bitterness, I did come across two art works that moved me as a human (not at a Korean): Nomura Hitoshi’s ‘Grus’, photographs of migrating geese and music inspired by the bird’s movement, and Ando Tadao’s architecture. Regarding the theme of migrating geese, I came across a blog entry that  is exceptional in my opinion. You can read about it here in “Trout factorynotebook “if you are also interested in patterns in nature like me.

I figured most visitors from out of town come this museum for the architecture rather than the art collection. My experience of Tadao’s design of space at Hyogo Art Museum could be summarized in one verb “to empty.” Tadao takes away everything that is peripheral and leaves only an outer boundary, or a shell that contains nothing.

Into this unfilled space,  something from my inside spills out. It could be of my old memory, or the ancient rhythm of migrating geese—a tune that has been there even before I was born.


Couple of teenagers are playing soccer,
two buddies take a nap on a bench,
pigeons reserve the high seat on the wall,
and a red bicycle frame.





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