Ten Thousand Flowers
March 11–31, 2021
TAI Modern, Santa Fe
Ten Thousand Flowers pairs Japanese bamboo art with flowers in a nod to the longstanding relationship between the two.
“The works of bamboo art in our gallery do not need a flower arrangement to complete them,” gallery director Margo Thoma explains. “Nevertheless, pairing flowers with bamboo still feels very special to me. It brings the historical roots of Japanese bamboo art to the forefront, and I have found that putting flowers in a basket redirects my attention from the form of the basket to the shape and potential of the negative space it creates. It is another way of learning about this multifaceted art form.”
In the 6th century, it was customary to place offerings of flower petals in bamboo trays before an image of the Buddha. Over time, arrangements of stemmed flowers replaced petals. By the early Kamakura period (1192-1333), flower arrangements became more ornamental and relocated to living quarters, where they were featured as important design elements.
Early masters created baskets with the understanding that they would most often be displayed with flowers. Today, bamboo artists do not necessarily expect that their work will be used to hold flowers. However, the importance of functionality and relevance of ikebana is a matter of active debate, and each individual artist takes a different stance.
Artist Isohi Setsuko states, “I create art for the purpose of visual appreciation. However, when I plan to make a work in the form of a flower basket, I think about how I would put flowers in this basket when the work is finished. When flowers are placed in a basket, the work shows a different expression. Since flowers are alive, I feel that they change not only the atmosphere of the piece but also the atmosphere of the place.”
Ten Thousand Flowers is on view in the gallery and online through March 31.
TAI Modern is the world’s leading dealer of contemporary Japanese bamboo art. For more than twenty years the gallery has sought to present compelling exhibitions, build strong collections, further academic research on bamboo art in Japan, and support and encourage artists in this incredibly challenging medium.
mon-sat 10 am-5 pm
1601 Paeo de Peralta, Santa Fe