THE BONSAI EFFECT

SHIKI by Azuma Makoto; photo: imane fiocchi

SHIKI by Azuma Makoto; photo: imane fiocchi

There are some botanical artists I seek out for inspiration and there are others I literally stalk.

If you haven't heard of Azuma Makoto, I highly suggest you get yourself to his show  Human | Nature curated by Andrew Zuckerman at Chamber Gallery in Chelsea ASAP.  And prepared to be floored.

The aim of  Human | Nature is for people to drastically reconsider their relationship with flowers and nature through Azuma Makoto's other-worldy botanical art. Mission accomplished. Some of Makoto's most famous pieces from past exhibitions are highlighted throughout the gallery for his first solo show in NYC:

SHIKI -  a bonsai tree suspended in an open steel frame that has traveled the world;

 EXOBIOTANICA-  a series of photographs showcasing a dynamic botanical sculpture shot in outer space;

BOTANICAL SOFA- a couch covered in astroturf that came from Makoto's own office.

The newest additions to his work come through POLYPORE, a collection of fungi he found in the forests of Japan dipped in precious metals.

photo: imane fiocchi

photo: imane fiocchi

A few weeks ago I attended the opening and discovered a few new things about Azuma Makoto that his Instagram feed didn't tell me:

1- This guy has a cult following. The who's who of indie chic celebs (Maggie Gyllenhall) and florists ( Taylor Patterson of Fox Fodder Farm) all came out to support the botanical mastermind.

2- This guy has skills. Prior to his foray into botanical sculpture/artistry, Makoto moonlighted as rock musician until a chance gig in a Tokyo flower market introduced him to the art of flower arranging, which he clearly took to the next level.

3- This guy is tres cool.  Makoto's last installation was at Parisian it-shop Colette where he saturated the storefront with over 10,000 flower filled jars (sadly I missed it by 2 days). If the french love you, you're in.

Every piece in the show is absolutely stunning, but my favorite is Shiki, the suspended bonsai tree.  I've seen it many times before in photographs and none of them compare to its beauty in real life. I could literally stare at it for hours.

Given the name of the show, maybe that's just the point. #itsplantporn

AZUMA MAKOTO's HUMAN | NATURE CURATED BY ANDREW ZUCKERMAN IS ON DISPLAY AT CHAMBER GALLERY UNTIL APRIL 30, 2016.