Suspended from the ceiling like delicate crimson parachutes, Chihuly’s flowers reflect the light. Their petals do not wilt, but will shatter if they fall, so they are carefully secured by metal twists and rods. As part of a new installation by Washington born-and-based glass artist Dale Chihuly, this 100-foot chandelier of flowers combines the vivacious colors and dainty medium for which Chihuly has become internationally renowned.
Chihuly Garden and Glass is Seattle’s tribute to a beloved artist, and the venture is Chihuly’s gift of eternal spring embedded with shapes from an alien landscape. The forms he creates are beautifully, at times disturbingly, organic. “The technology really hasn’t changed,” Chihuly explains on the Garden and Glass Website. “We use the same tools today they used 2,000 years ago. The difference is that when I started, everyone wanted to control the blowing process. I just went with it. The natural elements of fire, movement, gravity and centrifugal force were always there, and are always with us. The difference was that I worked in this abstract way and could let the forces of nature have a bigger role in the ultimate shape.”
Located at Seattle Center, in the shadow of the Space Needle, the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition will open on May 21st, spanning 12,208 square feet of exhibition space and opening into a 16,000 square foot garden, each containing another Chihuly-ian world. The centerpiece is the Glasshouse, a 40-foot tall glass and steel structure that draws architectural inspiration from Paris’s Saint-Chapelle and the Crystal Palace in London, two of Chihuly’s favorite conservatories.
“I call myself an artist for lack of a better word,” Chihuly once told an interviewer more than a decade ago. “I’m an artist, a designer, a craftsman, interior designer, half-architect. There’s no one name that fits me very well.” Chihuly Garden and Glass is a reflection of the artist’s multimedia escapades; a place where architecture, sculpture, glass, acrylic and film all come together as organically as Chihuly’s subject matter so that the installations are not so much installed, but grown. And still growing.
For more information, visit http://www.chihulygardenandglass.com.