ORGANIC MACHINE — Makoto Azuma’s Armored Pine

by Samantha Anne Scott

Makoto Azuma and Armored Pine, Photo courtesy of Shunsuke Shiinoki

Japanese artist Makoto Azuma is a botanical sculptor, flower shop proprietor, and aspiring rock star. As a Japanese artist working with flora, the question of whether traditional Japanese flower art, Ikebana, has a stylistic influence on his art was inevitable. According to Azuma, “No, there is no particular style. Ikebana is about form. If I had a style, that would be to destroy the form. All creation is present in infinity.”

Azuma opened his flower shop, Jardins des Fleurs, in 2001. Located in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza shopping district, Azuma’s garden of flowers has blossomed into a perennial cult floricultural destination for the city’s chic botanophiles. Azuma’s sculpture’s often combine both common and rare flora with industrial elements, particularly metal, glass, and artificial fibers.

Azuma composed his “Catch the Datura Field Vol. 7” with a gas mask, datura, and a cage.

Catch the Datura Field Vol. 7

Azuma created “Rolling” with a pine tree and a rolling device.

Rolling

Azuma crafted “Shiki” by combining a pine tree, ice, and a freezer.

Shiki

Azuma cultivated “Mossy Hill” utilizing fiber-reinforced polymer composite and moss.

Mossy Hill

Azuma constructed “Meat and Flower” using meat and an orchid.

Meat and Flower

Azuma’s newest work, the “Armored Pine” exhibit, is being curated by the Hexa Project at the Pola Museum Annex in Ginza, Tokyo through March 17. The artist’s statement for the exhibit reads:

“The pine, with its complicated and subtle structure, beauty, and life force, has the power to overtake anyone who observes it. I have been in search of a new beauty through the use of the pine in my previous work with ‘Shiki 1’, ‘Shiki 2’, and ‘Rolling’. By covering a pine in man-made material of punched steel, the strength of the pine is expressed not by the predefined rules of presenting beauty but directly. The pine that emerges from the thousands of holes in the punched steel, the strength of the pine that emerges from the thousands of holes in the punched steel… becomes a mirror reflecting the heart of the viewer. ‘Armored Pine’ is a transformation of the pine into a new form, a new life.” – Makoto Azuma

Armored Pine, Photo courtesy of Shunsuke Shiinoki

LINKS:

Makoto Azuma’s Web site

Hexa Project Web site

Pola Museum Annex Web site

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