One of the most distinctive features of Sapporo Art Museum is its Sculpture Garden, which extends over 7.5 hectares of rolling terrain. Since it opened in 1986, a total of 74 works have been planned, produced and installed there by domestic and overseas artists. Some sculptures quietly stand in the woods, while others tower on the hill waiting for visitors. I had the chance to stroll through this expansive art forest with the museum’s curator, Mr. Kohei Sato.
Sculpture Garden Map
Way to the Hidden Garden by Dani Karavan
The first work we saw was the 300-meter-long Way to the Hidden Garden behind the Art Park Center. This installation was produced by Israeli sculptor Dani Karavan (1930 – ), who is widely known for works that merge into their surroundings.
The pure white objects in the piece paired brilliantly with the surrounding greenery. We followed a path through a gate to find small twin hills, a sundial and seven gushing fountains. I felt as if I had strayed into a scene from a mystery story. I heard birdsong upon entering a conical structure that stood along the way, and learned that this was the sound of forest collected via microphones installed among the trees. Through the glass window in the floor, I saw real snow that had been stored in an ice room there since last winter. The various ingenious features of this work created a real air of enjoyment.
We then followed a meandering water channel to The Hidden Garden on a slope surrounded by trees. Feeling a sense of accomplishment after our successful venture so far, we took a break and enjoyed viewing the landscape from the garden. Having spent so long exploring the first work, I wondered how long it would take us to make our way around them all. Mr. Sato said it would take an hour walking fast and three hours walking at normal speed. This means that it would take half a day walking slowly. Visitors should be sure to allow enough time to enjoy the works displayed in the Sculpture Garden.
Related website: Dani Karavan
You’re My Chair, I’m Yours by Shigeo Fukuda
As the Sculpture Garden has no fixed route through the works on display, visitors can choose their own way around. One piece that grabbed my attention next was You’re My Chair, I’m Yours – a work consisting of a curved line of bright yellow human figures each sitting on the knees of the one behind. The creator, Shigeo Fukuda (1932 – 2009), is a leading Japanese graphic designer who produced the official poster for the 1970 Japan World Exposition and is also known for his 3D works.
This sculpture has been well photographed since the garden opened. Visitors often adopt the same pose for photos – sitting on the knees of the front figure with their hands high in the air. This practice became so common that the front figure had to be repaired in 2014 due to wear.
Fukuda reportedly decided to create these 21 figures in 1990 based on his vision for the 21st century. Here in the 21st century, they continue to draw in and