Daniel Arsham has assembled an enormous Japanese zen garden in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that overlooks the natural landscape of the city, and its famous Sugarloaf Mountain. ‘Blue garden’, an apparently traditional zen garden, involves a mix of sand, stone, wood, concrete, plants, but it has a contemporary touch of modern petrified artifacts that replace the traditional stones as an element of decoration.
“With cultural distancing, Daniel Arsham observes the Karesansui, the buddhist art of the Japanese zen gardens,’describes curator Marcello Dantas. ‘He proposes to project into the future an archaeological site about our present time, in which different layers of knowledge and contamination overlap.’
Presented by oi futuro — an institute dedicated to culture, education, and sustainability — Arsham’s ‘Blue Garden’ re-interprets an ancient environment, important in japanese culture as a refuge for meditation and contemplation. Here, the artist ornaments the sand landscape with contemporary ‘petrified’ artifacts from his practice, suggesting a contrast between the ancient and the modern. ‘Where the stones should be, we find everyday objects,’ dantas continues, ‘petrified, functioning as a kind of geological expression, in dialogue with the monumentality of the geological expression of Pão de Açúcar — solemn, straight ahead, creating the strange equilibrium of this garden.’
Photo Credit: Daniel Arsham
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