Sapporo Art Park

Last month, my husband and I visited Hokkaido, the northernmost of the islands in Japan. I never visited there before so I didn’t know where to go/what to see art-wise. Sapporo International Art Festival happened to be held then, we decided to just to go to the Sapporo Art Park to see Christian Marclay’s exhibition. It was a bit far out from the city centre, but was definitely worth visiting.

The whole propriety is massive. It consists of the Sapporo Art Museum and Sapporo sculpture garden. It would have taken at least 2 hours just to walk and see very single sculpture in the garden. We spent just over 1 hour to walk the garden as we were running out of time.

Unfortunately it was stormy when we visited there but we still enjoyed the walk. It was rather forests than a garden and once we got inside, we didn’t mind rain much. Actually the gloomy weather gave a melancholic and romantic atmosphere to the forest.

We followed the walking map. The walk started with some sculptures belong to the museum: hills, gates, a sundial, and cone. They are beautifully placed in an open area. They were strong enough themselves but I had an impression they’d highlight weather and seasonal conditions.

Walking in the garden was quite exciting as the forest was beautiful and well-presented. The walk reminded me of I-park in Connecticut.
One of the sculptures that I particularly liked was Minoru Niizuma’s Castle of the Eye. From far distance, the hefty sculpture looked like a historic monument made by indigenous people somewhere in South East Asia. As I got closer, its strong presence moved me a lot. It seemed to try to tell a story to me. It was quite a strong and bold piece, yet was matching well with the background.

The other work that I was looking forward to seeing was Lee Iran’s installation.With rusty metal panel and a rock, he created a broken door like piece. We saw its back first and I wasn’t sure liked it. As I walked past it and saw it from few metres away, I liked it a lot; I felt it was inviting. From distance, the installation looked like a little gate to something, like a secret garden.

Then of course, there was Antony Gormley’s Shaft 2. It was placed deep in the forest. It looked out over the forest as if it was its guardian. It’s nice to look it up, but somehow I preferred to look at it from the behind. I felt it looked quite warm, embracing the entire forest.
When we explored the garden for about one hour, we saw trees were planted in order forming a rectangular shape. Around the trees, stones are placed like a chess board. In the middle of the trees, there’s a small space without a tree, instead with stones on the ground. It was like beautiful and well-planned man-made forest suddenly appeared in the rather wilder forest. But it didn’t seem the work was isolated from the forest in the background.

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