Arts Towada - Location (5)

1 April 2008

Towada Art Center, Towada, JP

Visiting the Hans Op de Beeck pavilion during day time, you enter a dark night scene, a life-sized mise en scene of a black, elevated roadside restaurant with a panoramic view. When seated at one of the little tables, you can look through the huge windows at a nocturnal highway landscape that stretches off forever into the distance and is lit only by the characteristic orange road lists. This optical-illusion landscape is, in reality, a sculptured landscape 11m deep and 10m wide. The road’s surface rises at a 9° angle and the perspective is distorted as it moves towards the horizon (the first light mast is around 4m high, the last one only 40cm), thereby creating the illusion of a view that runs on for kilometers. In the roadside restaurant itself a crackling radio quietly plays strage tunes from the 70s. Everything, down to the smallest detail, has been custom made in monochrome black, lending the interior something mysterious and almost ominous; the room, lit only faintly by hanging lamps, gives one the feeling that one has entered the restaurant after closing time. The restaurant is every bit as desolately empty as the massive highway landscape one sees through the large, sloping windows.