Japanese artist Kenji Shibata has found a rather captivating way to use fresh flowers and ice to create art. The results are stunning, inspirational, and poetically symbolic. Kenji freezes flowers in blocks of ice, preserving their beauty in a frigid frost, before allowing the ice to slowly melt.
The flowers are frozen when they are in full bloom so that they remain trapped in the perfect stage of life, in the prime of their beauty. Kenji then photographs the frozen flowers as they move through different stages of thawing out, creating the beautiful photos you see here.
Kenji calls his collection, “Locked in the Ether.” The perfect title considering the flowers are literally frozen in time. Ice stops the clock, keeps things from showing any signs of aging. This fact alone has always been a source of much curiosity to mankind, which makes Kenji’s work even more compelling to observe and learn about. We are always trying to stop the clock, turn back time, and ice teases us with the possibilities of everlasting youth.
The different stages of melting ice give off a vast display of colors and textures at different depths, causing the ice to look like a watercolor painting when photographed. Only this ‘water painting’ is entirely unique because it’s nature’s frozen version.
Kenji plays with the appearance of his artwork by thawing out different portions of the frozen flowers at different times. This allows parts of the flowers to remain preserved, while the thawing petals die out, highlighting the great contrast between life and death, beauty and decay.
Kenji’s art is incredibly varied, in one project he highlighted scenes from nature shot in black and white, and in another project he created elaborate and colorful scenes with models depicting the Seven Deadly Sins.
No matter the project at hand, Kenji is great at what he does, and it’s hard to stop looking once you start exploring all of his work. It gets you thinking deeper about things, as you search his images for all of the symbolism you are sure to find.
By putting flowers in ice you temporarily stop them from aging. As the ice slips away, bruises and discoloring appear, creating a striking pattern of colors. The artist behind the magic sees it as the tension between the progression of time and the decline of beauty.
Ice is incredible; check out 26 Snow And Ice Formations That Look Like Beautiful Art.
The bubbles, cracks, and actual flowers stand as markers to the depth of the ice, making these images multi-faceted to inspect and admire. Kenji’s work gives flowers an extension on life, but Kenji knows when it’s time to say goodbye, and he lets these flowers die out in such a beautiful way. As the ice unlocks its forceful grip, the flowers literally return to life, bruised and discolored, here to finish out their graceful departure.
While the photos are beautiful with brilliant pops of color, you can’t deny that this particular series is also a bit dark and morbid. A reminder that all beauty fades and nothing is forever frozen in time.
Locked in the Ether was on display at Tachibana Gallery in Osaka, Japan.
Kenji Shibata’s artwork is always sensitive to the most delicate of life’s wonders, making each project he constructs incredibly inspirational. Make sure and check out his other work on his website.
Photo Credits: shibatakenji.com