architect Tadao Ando
project Benesse Foundation Art Site Naoshima, Kagawa, Japan
written by Maroje Mrduljaš


Man is not a dualistic being in whom a spirit and flesh are essentially distinct but a living, corporeal being active in the world. The ‘here and now’ in which this distinct body is placed is the point of departure, and subsequently a ‘there’ appears. Through a perception of that distance, or rather the living of that distance, the surrounding space becomes manifest as a thing endowed with various meanings and values.

Tadao Ando, ‘Shintai and Space’, Tadao Ando: Complete Works, London, 1995, ed. Francesco dal Co


The small island of Naoshima is one of almost a thousand Seto Inland Sea islands in southern Japan. According to unwritten sources, the history of Naoshima is practically just as long as the history of the whole of Japan and originates from the 3rd century. Seto Inland Sea was intensively industrialized at the beginning of the 20th century, and there are several industrial plants on Naoshima even today, the largest being the smelting and refining plant of Mitsubishi Materials.