Monsters besiege St. Luke’s Hospital

I visited St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tsukiji yesterday, and discovered that Tama Art University is putting on a sculpture exhibition on the grounds. It runs until Sept. 24.

There were many large wooden sculptures on the grass, looking like an army of monsters marching toward the entrance of the hospital’s older wing. One especially startling work, considering the setting, depicted an emaciated woman whose pregnant-looking abdomen was opened up and hollowed out to resemble and empty bucket. She also had a hole in her head – apparently a result of a natural knot in the wood. But at least she was smiling.

A snake, although it might make some people nervous, is a little more appropriate for a hospital since snakes have been used as symbols of healing since antiquity.

The salamander has legendary associations that might make it a good mascot for a burn unit, but whether any symbolism is intended here, at least it looks happy.

I have no idea whether this creature is happy, but it would be right at home in a Clive Barker painting or a Tim Burton movie.

Continuing the horror, it looks like at least one sculptor is a fan of H.P. Lovecraft.

And I have no idea who these guys are.

On a more serious note, I think St. Luke’s is to be commended on the quality and quantity of the artwork on display. Indoors, there are many paintings and a few small sculptures in the corridors, elevator lobbies and waiting rooms. There are also some nice gardens there. The commonsense proposition that pleasant surroundings are conducive to healing has been gaining more currency in recent years, so this is an important thing for a hospital to do.

If you’d like to see these sculptures for yourself, St. Luke’s is a few blocks west of Exit 3 of Tsukiji Station on the Hibiya subway line.

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