Classical sculptures and the contemporary sculptural architecture gives the museum a complete.

© Daici Ano/FWD INC.

In the spring of 2006, The Kanno Museum Of Art, which permanently displays the work of western modern sculptors such as Bourdelle, Greco, Despiau, Moore, Fazzini, Manzu, Marini, Rodin, opened on a hill offering sweeping views of Shiogama, Miyagi.

The museum houses eight sculptures; “Right hand of Pierre de Wissant, the Burghers of Calais (Rodin)” “Madeleine Charnot (Bourdelle)” “Madame Alice Derain (Despiau)” “Helmet Head no.6 (Moore)” “Small Nude (Marini)” “Seated Cardinal (Manzu)” “Woman Looking at Her Foot (Fazzini)” “Lucilia (Greco),” collected by the director of the museum, Kiyo Kanno since 1970s.

© Kanno Museum Of Art

Just knowing about the museum housing the masterpiece of the sculptures, it would be attention-getting from all over the world. Moreover, there are the specific reasons why many people are attracted to the museum; “rather than a white cube able to accommodate any type of exhibition, it’s aimed to design a unique landscape, and specific places for exhibiting each of the sculptures,” said the architect of the museum, Hitoshi Abe.

The architecture of the museum itself looks like a sculpture because copper plates are used for the exterior walls and create the texture of corduroy steel.

© Kanno Museum Of Art

Upon entering, visitors can see natural light delicately lighting the museum. The architecture contains eight spaces to hold the eight sculptures, within the predetermined 10m x 12m x 10m space. It is possible to walk around the sculptures and appreciates them from various angles. Each space is made of 3.2mm-thickness-steel plates with embossed effect. This form is defined by “balancing the conditions (location, size) that give rise to the boundary surfaces of each cell, which are formed by the internal pressures of the small spaces within the large space of the entire building” (Hitoshi Abe Website). Visitors can feel the organic feeling from the embossed effect in the white space.

© Kanno Museum Of Art

Since the opening, Kanno Museum has challenged for the collaboration between the architecture, the sculptures and the artists throughout exhibitions, concerts, and symposiums. In 2006, the Abe was the curator of the show called “Rainbow.” He created rainbows with sunlight and the lighting based on the location of the windows, the composition of the walls, the slope, and the finish. Also Abe presented the exhibition space that other museums are unable to recreate, by shooting the masterpiece of the sculptures into the limelight.

There are some other well-known architecturally famous buildings in Sendai: Sendai Mediatheaque by Toyoo Ito and Miyagi Stadium by Hitoshi Abe. The city is becoming an architecture outlet in the Tohoku district. Architectural students have been regularly visiting The Kanno Museum for student tours, since last summer.

From July 28th, there will be an exhibition by designer Asao Tokolo at Kanno Museum. Tokolo has worked for Abe and as a result, he understands the structure of the museum well.

Shizue Saito, a curator, said, “I would like to show the unique extensity emphasizing the beauty of the sculptures, more than the novelty of the architecture itself.”

The convergence of the classical sculptures and the contemporary sculptural architecture gives the museum a complete and unique charm to it.

Asao Tokolo Exhibition
Date: July 28th, 2007 – September 30th
Fee: General 500Yen Students 300Yen

Kanno Museum Of Art
Address: 3-4-15 Tamagawa, Shiogama, Miyagi
Tel: 022-361-1222

Text and photos: Aya Takada

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Fernando Trocca