in the middle of a snowfield in one of japan’s coldest geographical areas, artist azuma makoto has realized a monumental artwork that builds on his sculptural practice and interest in the botanical world. over the past 10 years, makoto has been working with open steel frame structures that accommodate carefully suspended bonsai trees within their exposed shell, documenting this sculpture’s journey across the globe. for this latest installation, the artist has scaled up the process on a monumental level, hanging a huge pine tree from a 5 meter cubic iron framework placed in the snow.

azuma makoto shiki tou

 

 

azuma makoto has set ‘shiki tou’ (‘tou’ meaning ‘winter’ in japanese) in the northern japanese city of asahikawa, on hokkaido island. the enormous pine is carefully tethered to a huge steel framework by meticulously-tied rope cords and wire bond. suspended above the surface of the snow, the tree’s colossal root formations become visible as they hover just above the earth from which they came. as each moment passes, the sculpture becomes more and more concealed by falling snow — sometimes appearing as an unusually large figure in the distance, when conditions are cold, and other times disappearing almost completely from view. this changing perspective has been documented in a series of photographs seen here, with an in-depth look at the making-of ‘shiki tou’ in the gallery at the bottom of the page.

azuma makoto shiki tou

azuma makoto shiki tou

azuma makoto shiki tou

azuma makoto shiki tou

azuma makoto shiki tou

azuma makoto shiki tou

azuma makoto shiki tou

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