From Chris Burden to ORLAN, How 8 Artists Took Their Work to the Extreme
The Art Genome Project
In 19th century England, a small, glass-enclosed conservatory called a “paludarium” was invented to house and protect exotic plants after they traveled from far off places, having been extracted from their natural habitats. When placed inside this protective glass container, the plant thrives in an environment that emulates its natural habitat, yet it becomes a spectacle of displacement having been taken from its place of native origin.
Comprised of water, land, air, and light, the “Paludarium Osamu” is home to a bonsai tree and offers a contemporary encapsulated environmental ecosystem in which the tree can complete its growth stages and lifecycle in a succinct and condensed way.
Image rights: Fran Parente
Japanese artist Azuma Makoto came to art through his career as a florist, which evolved into what he dubs “botanical sculpture,” installation, and performance. For Azuma, plants are the ideal medium not only to explore the transitory nature of beauty and decay, but also to create dramatic and surreal scenarios in nature. His lush, exotic arrangements have been suspended in air, frozen in ice, set on fire, and launched into space. In "Exobiotanica," he partnered with an aerospace company to send a bouquet and a bonsai tree into the stratosphere, documenting their journey and eventual disintegration using cameras and GoPro video. He continues to partner with design and fashion houses to create ephemeral floral installations crafted around events, and recently debuted a collection of permanent sculpture and design objects.