We are simply awe-struck by Shinji Turner-Yamamoto’s Hanging Garden sculpture, which was recently installed in the abandoned Holy Cross Church of Cincinnati. The organic artwork consists of a living tree supported by an inverted, uprooted dead tree, delicately suspended in a deserted worship space.
Hanging Garden is part of Turner-Yamamoto’s larger Global Tree Project, which encourages community participation in the creation of each sculpture. Local volunteers help the artist to locate and transport a chosen tree for his installation and then participate in its re-planting when the exhibition ends. The living tree must also be watered and looked after throughout the exhibition. The process encourages local residents to actively engage with the land and plants that sustain them. Other Tree Projects have taken place in such far-lung locations as India, Ireland, and Finland, making for a unique and sensitive index of tree species throughout the world.
Turner-Yamamoto chose the derelict church as his site because he liked the marks of decay carved into the architecture by time and nature. Inspired by the Japanese idea of wabi-sabi, or ‘beauty in the imperfect,’ he feels “there is a beauty in how things crack.” The unexpected interior of Holy Cross is the perfect background for re-imagining the tree as a sculpture. “By taking tree out of its natural context,” he explains, “I invite viewers to experience nature in a novel more contemplative way.”
The Hanging Garden exhibition has just come to a close, but we eagerly await our next Tree Project!
Photos © Shinji Turner-Yamamoto
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