Hita, set in deep countryside in the west of Oita, is at the centre of northern Kyushu. Serving as…
The Comico Art Museum Yufuin is a captivating manifestation in architecture of many Japanese qualities especially tranquility. Comico’s compact size and pitch-black exterior embody the nation’s sense of self-effacement and restraint that induce a quietly seductive allure.
Created by the renowned and prolific architect Kengo Kuma, the museum exemplifies his use of natural materials in modern contexts. Comico’s obsidian countenance comes from its cladding of yakisugi charred cedar wood, a traditional preservation technique. A variety of natural stone and hewn rocks, along with the sparse use of water pools, bamboo, trees and bushes add calming and contrasting essences to the whole.
Two of the three galleries found inside are cocoon-like liminal spaces of sparse natural light separated by a glass wall and interior rivulet of water. Gallery I showcases work of Takashi Murakami that colourfully and wittily draw on Japan’s anime and manga culture, and Gallery II displays the civilisation-free, sublime monochrome seascape photographs of Hiroshi Sugimoto. The art of these two very differing personalities are reflected back upon each other across the galleries’ translucent divide. Passage between the two galleries is only possible by exiting outside and passing through the museum’s gracefully composed grounds, which provides a moment to ‘reset’ one’s senses and transition between these distinctively differing artworks.
The third Open Gallery is on the roof of the museum and provides a completely different environment for ‘Your Dog’, a sculpture by Yoshimoto Nara. Exposed to the elements this gallery sets the surreal and introspective qualities of Nara’s work with the voluminous natural backdrop across Yufuin to soaring Yufu-dake, a magnificent dormant volcano.
Entry is by reservation only, a guarantee that visitors may appreciate Comico’s intriguing environment and its work fully and in comfort. For those committed to art and architecture, or those who are just looking for a high degree of privacy, Comico also offers exclusive accommodation on site.
At a glance
A sublime private art gallery in the centre of Yufuin created by Kengo Kuma, one of Japan's leading architects.