Earlier in February, the Japanese artist Makoto Azuma held a 2-day installation art exhibition SHIKI FUYU in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. In the promotional copy he wrote, “The outdoor exhibition is held in the extremely cold area. There is a likelihood of snow storm during the exhibition, and we assume no responsibility for the visitors’ health and safety.” The statement is without doubt a safety warning, it is also a foreword given by Azuma — probably best expressed by the pine tree being hung from a metallic square-shaped frame, implying all the boundaries that are being imposed on the supposedly free and limitless life.
The struggle plants endure with surrounding environment is a recurrent theme in Azuma’s work. In his SHIKI collection, Azuma made a series of photo documentation of a pine tree traveling around the world. Its journey even reached the outer space. The pine tree was pulled from the ground and was delivered to environments that are a mismatch to its natural habitat. In peculiar setting like underwater or beneath a waterfall, the pine tree manifested an unexplainable surrealistic charm. SHIKI FUYU is seemingly a sequel of SHIKI.