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Visit the wind sculptor SHINGU Susumu.To the「WIND MUSEUM」, the miracle museum where people, nature and art are in harmony.



The internationally renowned sculptor SHINGU Susumu (1937-) is an artist who continues to create one-of-a-kind sculptures that are moved by wind and water.


How did these mysterious sculptures that move so calmly as if they were alive, come into being? To find out, we visited the Susumu Shingu Wind Museum (hereafter referred to as the Wind Museum) in Sanda City, Hyogo Prefecture, where all of Shingu's works can be seen.

(Interview and text by ISHIGAKI Kumiko)


 



Wind sculpture born in Italy.

Mr. Shingu Susumu

Born in 1937 in Toyonaka-city, Osaka, Mr Shingu Susumu says he was a child who loved to draw.


Looking back on his childhood, Mr Shingu says: "My mother was a devoted educator and believed I was a painting prodigy. But my relative, the Western-style painter Mr. Koiso Ryohei, told me that I wasn't that special and that I would eventually end up playing baseball or something like that," he laughs.


Despite Mr Koiso's thoughts, Mr Shingu tirelessly pursued his painting career and studied oil painting at the Tokyo University of the Arts.


The turning point for him came after graduating from university and spending six years studying in Italy, where in the 1960s the new film culture and pop art from the USA were flooding in and the country was enveloped in a chaotic frenzy of tradition and avant-garde.

It was in this free and energetic atmosphere that Mr Shingu, who was painting abstract paintings, says he "gradually became bored of being confined to the square canvas".


Eventually, Mr Shingu "realized that there were forms and mechanisms of wind" in nature, and began to express the images he had previously painted in abstract form as wind-driven sculptures.





The open-air museum concept was born out of a chance encounter.


The Wind Museum in Sanda City, Hyogo Prefecture, is the place to see all these wind sculptures by Mr Shingu in one place.


It is located at the northern end of Hyogo Prefectural Arima Fuji Park, about an hour's drive from Kobe and Osaka. The park is popular for its small hills, lakes and lawn squares, where visitors can get in touch with nature.


A further 30-minute drive takes you to Tamba Sasayama, where the atmosphere of a castle town remains. The area's typical Japanese satoyama scenery, such as the Tono cherry blossom rows (Tamba Sasayama City), which are highly praised by locals, is another attraction here.


Mr.Shingu's picture books and publications are on display at the 「Kaze no Iori」, a rest facility on the premises.

The Wind Museum is an art museum, but without a building, and all the artworks are displayed outdoors.


The idea for the open-air museum came to Mr Shingu, who has a studio in Sanda, one day when he was taking a walk in the park and spotted this location. He wanted to create a center for culture and the arts, where not only sculptures could be installed, but also musical concerts and plays for children could be held.


"Many people think that art is only about what is displayed in museums and galleries. The aim of the Wind Museum is to show them how to display art in a way that isn't like that."


《Windmills in the Satoyama》 (2009) "Many people think that art is only about what is displayed in museums and galleries. The aim of the Wind Museum is to show them how to display art in a way that isn't like that."

With the support of the government, the Wind Museum opened in 2014 with the donation of the 《Windmill in the Satoyama》 (2009), which uses four large wings to generate wind power, and 12 wind-powered sculptures to Hyogo Prefecture.

 



A place where people, nature and art come together.

《Stellar Constellations》 (1986)

The works are installed so as to nestle into the wooded and waterside landscape, based on the idea that "I want the works to exist as if the trees were growing out of them."


Another feature of the Wind Museum is that all the artworks have no fences or pedestals. Everyone can relax up close to the artworks and children can play cheerfully around them.


An environment where people, nature and art are so close together that you can experience a sense of unity is extremely rare anywhere in the world. It is a miracle of an art museum, filled with the ideals of the artist SHINGU Susumu.


《Wind Rondo》 (2014). Produced to mark the opening of the Wind Museum.

 

The artwork responds to nature and changes its appearance with the seasons, weather and the passage of time. The metal sculptures reflect the light and remind us of the beauty of light and shadow brought about by the sun.


《Crystal of the wind》(1986)

 

Mr. Shingu describes his sculptures as "a device for showing the invisible energy of nature".


'We live at the very bottom of the Earth's atmosphere, as seen from space. And the reason why we can stand there is because of the earth's gravity. Although we cannot see it, there is always a great energy of the Earth around us, such as the atmosphere and gravity. I make it visible through my work."


The artworks created by listening carefully to the voice of the earth and looking closely at nature remind us how beautiful the planet we live on is, how vast the universe is and that we are connected to it all.





Sandalino, the alien who came to Sanda.

Wind-powered Sandalino monuments.

In 2023, a new artwork was displayed at the Wind Museum. It is a monument to the character Sandalino, created by Mr Shingu.


Sandalino is an alien who fell to earth with a lightning strike. The name comes from the Italian words 'sandal' and 'Sanda'(city).


Sandalino loves sandals. He wears colorful sandals.

Mr Shingu, who has had his studio in Sanda since 1990, created the character Sandalino to make as many people as possible aware of the beauty of the region. He is also passionate about spreading the character by publishing picture books so that children in the future will love it for a long time to come.


The Wind Museum also hosts performances starring Sandalino and children.


The hand-drawn idea notebooks that he carries with him at all times, each page of which is like an artworks.

Mr Shingu's activities are truly wide-ranging and diverse, including sculpture, picture books and stage productions.


'If it is artists who express themselves, then maybe I am not an artist. I don't want to express myself, I want to express the earth and the universe in which I am allowed to exist. When I look outside myself in that way, the range of my expression is expanding rapidly."





Wind sculptures you can meet in Osaka and Kansai

《Kaleidoscope of winds》 (1992).

Mr. Shingu's artworks can also be seen in the city. Here we pick up some of his works that can be seen in Osaka, Kobe and other parts of the Kansai region.


《Kaleidoscope of winds》 (1992).

Of particular note is 《Wind of Kaleidoscope》 (1992), located in Kita-ku, Osaka. It is the only architectural work of its kind in the world, designed by Shingu himself as the company building of Brain Centre Co.


Objects resembling the Doremi scale reflected in a convex mirror (center).

Art and architecture are fused together, and if you look through the convex mirror on the ground floor, you can see an object in the center of the spiral staircase that resembles the scale of the Do Re Mi as it moves towards the sky.

*As the building is still used as a company building, access to the second floor and above is prohibited.


The collaboration with the seascape is a highlight in 《Harukana Rhythm》 (1979) at the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, designed by Tadao Ando, and 《Wings of Waves》 (1991), which is exhibited on the seaside of Ikuchijima Island in Hiroshima Prefecture.


《Portrait of the Sun》 (1997).

《Portrait of the Sun》 (1997), located in Kita-ku, Osaka, is a work set amidst a group of high-rise buildings. In fact, Nishi-Umeda Park, where the work is exhibited, was also designed by Mr. Shingu.


《Memory of Waves》, Tempozan Mermaid Square (1994).

Why not visit other places where masterpieces are displayed, such as Kansai International Airport, designed by architect Renzo Piano, or Tempozan Mermaid Square, where the former Suntory Museum is located?



 

SHINGU Susumu, aged 86, at the starting line.

During the interview, Mr Shingu told us that he is now 86 years old and is finally counting down the days of his life, but that his head is full of new ideas every day.


Looking back on his life as a "good warm-up" for the many creative activities he has undertaken while traveling the world, Mr Shingu smiles and says that he "feels like I'm on a very good starting line now", like a boy looking straight ahead to the future.


What kind of artworks will the artist SHINGU Susumu show us in the future, as he continues to walk as lightly, softly and freely as the wind? We can't take our eyes off him from now on.





「Susumu Shingu, Wind Museum」 basic information.

Address

968 Ninji, Sanda, next to Arima Fuji Symbiosis Centre.

Tel

079-562-3040

Access

[For cars].

From the prefectural Arima Fuji Park Park Centre to the Sanda Municipal Arima Fuji Symbiosis Centre takes about 10 minutes.

From the direction of Sannomiya, Osaka and Himeji

From Chugoku Expressway 'Kobe Sanda IC' to Sanda Municipal Arima Fuji Symbiosis Centre, 20 min.

From the direction of Fukuchiyama

From Maizuru Expressway 'Sanda Nishi IC' to Sanda Municipal Arima Fuji Symbiosis Centre, 20 min.

 [By train/bus].Take Shinki Bus No. 20 from Sanda Station (North Exit) bus stop at the north exit of JR Sanda Station and get off at Ninji bus stop (approx. 12 minutes), then walk for 15 minutes.

From the direction of Osaka

JR Osaka to JR Sanda Station, 40 mins.

From the direction of Sannomiya and Himeji

From JR Sannomiya to JR Sanda Station (via JR Amagasaki Station): approx. 55 mins.

Hankyu Kobe Sannomiya to JR Sanda Station: approx. 55 minutes (via Hankyu Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi Station and JR Takarazuka Station).

From Kobe Municipal Subway Sannomiya Station to JR Sanda Station (via Tanigami Station), approx. 55 mins.


Opening hours

9:00〜17:00

Entrance fee

Free

Notes

There are 139 (free) parking spaces at the Sanda Municipal Arima Fuji Symbiosis Centre.

Official website


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