Museum Exploration Reports

The changing seasons of Hokkaido through permanent museum exhibitions
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The Morning Prayer by Takejiro Hayashi, 1906

From Selected Pieces from the Museum Collection for Spring, 2014:
The Morning Prayer by Takejiro Hayashi, 1906

Although Hokkaido is just one of Japan’s many prefectures, it covers an area as large as that of Austria. The region’s four distinctive seasons produce drastic changes in appearance throughout the year – a riot of blooming flowers after the snowmelt in spring, bright sunshine filling the air in summer, leaves turning vivid colors in autumn, and snowy, icy conditions in winter. People in Hokkaido can enjoy wide seasonal variations without traveling to other regions. This is part of the area’s appeal.

Vase by Émile Gallé, 1900

From Selected Pieces from the Museum Collection for Summer 2014:
Vase by Émile Gallé, 1900

The permanent Museum Collection exhibition features artworks showcased in connection with Hokkaido’s dynamic seasonal changes. About 40 years that have passed since its opening, the museum has acquired a collection of as many as 4,800 works from which masterpieces and popular titles are selected depending on the season for individual permanent exhibitions. The facility provides visitors with opportunities to enjoy each artwork in the context of Hokkaido’s surroundings.

The two permanent exhibition spaces are connected by the large spiral staircase depicted in the museum’s logo. This structure stands strikingly under the vaulted ceiling as if it were a piece of art itself.

exhibition-space

City Scape by Jay Musler, 1982

City Scape by Jay Musler, 1982

Curator Takashi Kamata says, “One of the missions of an art museum is to continuously collect and preserve magnificent artworks. Permanent exhibitions provide opportunities to show the fruits of our labor to the public on a regular basis. Special exhibitions generally tend to attract lots of attention, but we hope people will enjoy permanent exhibitions too.”

The artworks on display are replaced four or five times a year for each permanent exhibition. As there are so many pieces to be shown, it will be several years until a particular work comes back into the rotation. With this being the case, the chance to see a favorite artwork again at a permanent exhibition makes the experience even more enjoyable. I recently had a chance to see a glasswork that had left an impression on me a few decades ago when I was an elementary school student. It still had the bright red color that I remembered. It felt as if I had met up with an old friend again, which made me very happy.

(July 2014)

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