Azuma Makoto is a botanical artist that creates magnificent floral installations where the plants would not be sustainable in a natural environment. Water, ice, and even space serve him as unparalleled media for ground-breaking projects. “Flowers aren’t just beautiful to show on tables. They will show unique expressions that are not displayed in everyday life, by being exposed to very different environments”, says a 38-year-old Japanese artist.
The results are always impressive combinations of color and beauty that challenge our relationship with plants. Makoto’s projects are existential, bold and sometimes disturbing, as he finds beauty both in the life and the death of his material.
The ‘Bottle Flower’ was an early project of Makoto that comprises flowers stuffed into glass bottles and filled with water. The shocking beauty of the dead flowers invoked images of laboratory experiments and embalmed human body parts.
The bonsai in this project is suspended in the net of wires and floats within a steel frame. It is both a marionette and a precious captive. Despite the disturbing nature of this installation, this tree was very carefully extracted from its earth, and then returned to its original environment.
For this project, the artist freeze-sprayed a pine bonsai tree and put it in a custom-designed refrigerator.
“In Bloom” is a massive flower sculpture consisted of approximately 10 000 red Heliconia. It was installed on a raft in the middle of the ocean that created a stunning stage for the project.
For this installation Azuma locks fabulous floral bouquets in large blocks of ice, inorganic chambers that preserves marvelously; but you must remember these are dead flowers frozen in time. These almost crystal-like cold prisons make a vivid contrast with lovely objects suspended inside. It’s clear that the artist finds extraordinary beauty in the way the ice melts and the flowers being doomed to become victims of merciless and unrelenting time.
Exobiotanica – Botanical Space Flight
“I wanted to explore how flowers and plants would bloom, decay and change outside of the earth. I wanted to seek out and tell how their beauties will look with the earth as its background”, said Makoto about his most ambitious project. He launched a bonsai tree and an arrangement of orchids, hydrangeas, lilies and irises into the stratosphere to see what would happen. Freed from everything, the plants head to the space, evolving into extraterrestrial life forms, and the edge of the area as the backdrop creates an extremely sublime visual experience.