Are there limits to Bonsai as an art?

What are the limits? Is the art of Makoto Azuma past what’s acceptable?

To me, once ‘keeping the tree alive to the best of our knowledge and intentions’ is no longer an unbreakable rule, it no longer is bonsai as art instead it is art perusing bonsai as additional visual element in the composition. Makoto Azuma’s is definitely art and very interesting but not bonsai as an art.

If you check this guy’s website, there are more painful videos with trees… he should keep playing with flowers instead in my opinion…

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Yes, the limit is when the tree is dead :joy:. As a bonsai practitioner I find this guy’s art distasteful at best. But then again most modern art is. This guy gets more credit in the art world for killing bonsai trees than most do for keeping them alive. Anyone can kill a bonsai tree!:joy:

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To me, bonsai is about taking a plant, molding it into a little tree, making it look unbelievably ancient, and sticking it in an extremely shallow pot.

The kicker: THE TREE IS ALIVE!

It’s not plastic, or molded out of clay. It’s not a statue, or relief, or mosaic. It’s not an abstract representation of what the artist thinks trees “feel like”.

It is a living, growing plant. In a pot. That looks older than it is, and is smaller than it should. The “living” part of it is really non-negotiable. We don’t go around calling a book a painting, just because it has a drawing in it. He can’t really call his work bonsai, just because he put a small tree in it.

That being said, I don’t really think he was trying to pass off his work as bonsai. He talks about using it as an element that is very traditional in Japan, but I don’t think he is trying to develop the art of bonsai in any way. I kinda wish he wouldn’t have used such nice trees though!

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I agree 100% with you. What a pity for such nice trees that took so long to be developed. Perhaps he could use a Pokemons or Hello Kitties or some other icon of Japanese culture instead of bonsai trees.

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I have hesitated to post to this thread.
This offends me (artwise) viscerally. Same as the crucifix in a bottle of urin a while back. (I am NOT religeous…) Art? Maybe. Some flower sellers cry for attention… not bonsai.
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Bonsai is ART. Ephemral and fleeting at best.
Find a photo of Goshin. That’s bonsai ART at its finest!

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I’ve got to say it is painful to see these trees treated this way. My FIRST priority is to keep them alive and healthy. Never to abuse and kill them.

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The art is actually beautiful and my reaction was ‘wow’ really great installation.
True is for tree lover it is kinda sacrilege. Also the message behind the art didn’t convince me to agree sacrifice of such old trees to die even for such beauty. As Ryan says: “some trees we turn into bonsai have been here hundreds or even thousands years. Do you have a right to not respect that?!” and that’s what I strongly agree with!

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" I certainly think it is worth trying".

Honestly, its a little weird but hey anything to bring more attention to Bonsai and expose it to more people! (Personally I think the health and vigor of the tree should be #1!)