Japan-based artist Makoto Azuma has constructed two botanical art pieces (Shiki 1 and Frozen Pine) comprised of bonsai pine trees in unusual situations. As one of 20 international contemporary artists showing their work at Z33 Art Centre's exhibit in Hasselt, Belgium entitled Alter Nature: We Can, he sought to communicate how man has displaced, manipulated, and designed nature.
Azuma is no stranger to working with plant-life. He has his own flower shop called Jardins des Fleurs in Aoyama, Tokyo that he has been operating since it first opened in Ginza in 2002. The floral artist knows a lot about the manipulation of nature, since his business is based around creating beautifully artistic flower arrangements.
Azuma chose to work with bonsai trees because of their Japanese origins and history of aesthetic purposes. Bonsai trees are pruned at their branches and roots to guide the plants' growth into visually pleasing ornaments. As a result of practices similar to this, the concept of 'nature' is constantly changing. Azuma's interpretation of this man-made distortion idea involves enclosing, freezing, and stretching. The steel frame around the trees represents a sort of confinement in which nature is altered. Freezing a bonsai, leaving sharp and dense icicles to hang off its branches, or suspending it in the air, tugged at every which end by metal wiring, are obvious and more literal representations of altering the natural life of the plant. The clear message is how man's actions greatly influence nature.
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