Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Uppsala: Ikebana and Contemporary Plant Art

The Botanical Gardens of Uppsala, Sweden, is hosting an interesting exhibition this summer. Featuring two highly experienced ikebana artists, Hiroki Ohara, headmaster of the Ohara School, and Katsuhito Kurata, assistant instructor of the Ikenobo Central Training Institute, the exhibition Ikebana and Contemporary Plant Art  presents their work side by side with works by Japanese contemporary artists Naoaki Donuma, Junichi Kakizaki, Shizuko Ono, Ohya Rica and Hanayuishi Takaya.

The exhibition, that takes place in the magnificent 18th century Orangery in the botanical garden, is unique by showing traditional Ikebana alongside Japanese contemporary art inspired by the great diversity of the plant world. Plants from the Swedish forest and the Botanical Gardens are combined with cut flowers, shrubs, rocks, roots and branches.

The site of the exhibition has a fitting history. The Orangery was built in honor of Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus on the initiative of his disciple Carl Peter Thunberg after his return from his expedition to Japan in 1779. Thunberg was staying with the Portuguese traders on the artificial island Dejima outside Nagasaki. Although he was hardly allowed to leave the island, he was able to conduct some botanical research,  trading his knowledge of European medicine for new specimens. In 1776 he was allowed to accompany the director of the Dutch settlement to the shogun in Edo, and was able to collect many Japanese plants. His scientific activities resulted in "Flora Japonica", the first detailed description of the flora of Japan.

The installations exhibited are created on site and the artists will be present at the opening Saturday 14 June at 2 - 4 pm. The exhibition is curated by Kajsa Haglund and Elisabet Yanagisawa Avén.

Meet three of the artist in this film:

The exhibition runs June 14th - September 14th, 2014
More information on the exhibition webpage and the website of the Botanical Gardens of Uppsala

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