Tadao Ando goes beyond art

Ke Jiayun
The life and work of award-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando, winner of architecture's highest honor Pritzker Prize, is being exhibited in Shanghai in the Bund Finance Center.
Ke Jiayun

The life and work of award-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando, winner of architecture’s highest honor Pritzker Prize, is being exhibited in Shanghai in the Bund Finance Center.

The 79-year-old self-taught architect is the master behind some of the world’s most recognizable buildings, including the Church of Light in Osaka’s Ibaraki and the Church on the Water in Hokkaido’s Tomamu. Thousands upon thousands of visitors have commented on how they have been moved by the religious symbolism, energy and architecture of the two holy places of worship. And the skill and dexterity of the Japanese architect can be witnessed through June 6 at an exhibition under the banner “Tadao Ando: Endeavors.”

Tadao Ando goes beyond art
Courtesy of Tadao Ando Architect & Associates

Church on the Water, one of the signature works by Japanese architect Tadao Ando

The exhibit showcases architectural models and remakes, sketches, drawings, videos, photographs and travel logs that document his legendary life.

Tadao Ando Architect and Associates has designed the exhibition space according to the architectural traits of the Fosun Foundation to provide visitors with a more enlightening experience of the architect’s works.

A large green apple is placed at the exhibition scene as a symbol of youth.

“We all have youth and we can live long if we have a young mind,” said Ando. “The green apple represents the power in our mind, or the hope.”

A replica of the Church on the Water is on show at the art center as will another iconic Ando building, Row House — also known as Azuma House in Sumiyoshi.

“If you want to learn more about architecture, the best way is to feel by yourself,” Ando said. “Now, a smart phone can spread information very quickly. But what it delivers is just a piece of information. The strong impact that a building can bring to the space requires people to discover it by themselves at the scene.”

Ando says a human has many organs, but the most important one is the heart. And for a city, the building and public space has to be at the “heart” of everything.

Tadao Ando goes beyond art
Shigeo Ogawa / Courtesy of He Art Museum

Prologue

Some online events will run at the same time as the exhibition so Ando can share his design experience with architectural enthusiasts. Visitors will be able to communicate with the architectural master and ask questions.

Various themed cultural innovative products are provided at the exhibition as well.

“It is a great honor for Fosun Foundation to present Tadao Ando’s first large-scale retrospective exhibition ‘Endeavors’ at an art gallery level in China,” said Wang Jinyuan, chairwoman of Fosun Foundation Shanghai. “Today, when the world is facing great challenges, the title of this exhibition is very meaningful. The COVID-19 epidemic sweeping the world has brought unprecedented challenges to the whole world. I hope that the exhibition will bring more vigor and hope to the Chinese audience.”

Meanwhile, in Guangdong’s Shunde, He Art Museum is scheduled to officially open on March 30 with the Japanese architect’s first art exhibition “Beyond: Tadao Ando and Art.”

Tadao Ando goes beyond art
Courtesy of Tadao Ando Architect & Associates

Church of Light

The exhibition sheds light on the artistic trail of Ando and how his works go through three chapters: Beyond Art, Beyond Light and Beyond Ando.

This is the first art exhibition that uncovers his achievements, from inspirations, ideas to creations. It features exhibits by some of the greatest artists in history, such as Pablo Picasso, Ellsworth Kelly, Alexander Calder and Richard Long, among others.

The reappearance of Ando’s well-known work, the Chichu Art Museum, is one of the exhibition’s highlights.

He Art Museum executive director Shao Shu said: “The exhibition will definitely deliver Tadao Ando’s powerful stories and the philosophy behind the great architect and artist.”

Fosun Foundation and He Art Museum presents combo tickets and co-hosted programs, such as guided tours, to provide the public with a unique experience of Tadao Ando’s accomplishments.

“In the light of the on-going challenge that all of us are confronting, these two upcoming exhibitions aims to encourage people to stay positive, endeavor to overcome difficulties beyond boundaries, like the spirit underlying the Green Apple,” Ando said.

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