The 500,000-square meter Mifuneyama Rakuen Park was created 172 years ago in 1845, during the end of the Edo period. Sitting on the borderline of the park is a 3,000-year-old sacred Okusu tree of Takeo Shrine, which is Japan’s 7th largest. Also in the heart of the garden is another 300-year-old sacred tree. Our forebears turned a portion of this magnificent forest, with Mifuneyama Mountain at the center, into a garden while utilizing the trees of the natural forest. The border between the garden and wild forest is so ambiguous that when wandering through the garden people will enter into the woods and animal trails. Enshrined in the forest is the Inari Daimyojin deity surrounded by a huge natural rock. The cave houses the Five Hundred Arhats and the Three Buddha Figures that are carved into the rock face, believed to have been carved by the great priest Gyoki 1,300 years ago.
The forest, rocks, and caves of Mifuneyama Rakuen have formed over millions of years, and for thousands of years people have sought meanings in them. The park that we know today sits on top of this history. It is the ongoing relationship between nature and humans that has made the border between the forest and garden ambiguous, keeping this cultural heritage beautiful and pleasing. Lost in nature, where the boundaries between man-made garden and forest is unclear, we feel like we exist in a continuous, borderless relationship between nature and humans. It is for this reason that teamLab decided to create an exhibition in this vast, labyrinthine space, so that people will become lost and immersed in the exhibition and nature.
teamLab is executing an art project called “Digitized Nature” where “Nature Becomes Art.” The concept of the project is that non-material digital art can turn nature into art without harming it.
We exist as a part of an eternal continuity of life and death, a process which has been continuing for an overwhelmingly long time. It is hard for us, however, to sense this in our everyday lives. When exploring the forest, we come to realize that the shapes of the giant rocks, caves, and the forest that have been formed over the eons, are the shapes of the continuous cycle of life itself. By applying digital art to this unique environment, the exhibition celebrates the continuity of life.
The Story Behind Shiseido’s contribution
The name “Shiseido” was taken from a passage in the Yi Jing, the Chinese classic literature, which reads “Praise the virtues of the Earth, which nurtures new life and brings forth significant values.” Based on the corporate mission to “inspire a life of beauty and culture”, Shiseido has built a unique sense of beauty throughout its 145 years of history.
As a part of Shiseido’s long-standing support of the arts and culture, we have come to sponsor this latest art exhibition of teamLab, the leading artist in the world of digital art.
At the venue, teamLab will exhibit 14 artworks, including the WASO Tea House – “Flowers Bloom in an Infinite Universe, inside a Teacup”, which represents Shiseido’s new skincare brand “WASO” and the concept behind it of “All things beautiful come from nature”. This collaborative artwork ties in with teamLab’s concept of“Nature Becomes Art”.
At the WASO Tea House, the experience becomes art, allowing the visitors to explore the world of WASO through the five senses.