Artist Hangs Living Trees in Abandoned Churches

Global Tree Project© Global Tree Project

Some artists paint pictures, some make sculptures -- Japanese artist Shinji Turner-Yamamoto hangs living trees in abandoned churches and gilds splotches on granite mountains in Mongolia.

Site-specific art installations addressing nature are nothing new, but since their heyday in the early 197s0s they've been slowly fading into the landscape. Turner-Yamamoto's Global Tree Project may be just the initiative to bring them back to the forefront.

Born in Osaka, Japan, and now based in Cincinnati, OH and Washington, DC, Turner-Yamamoto’s installations are dotted across the globe from Ireland, Finland, Italy and Japan to India, Mongolia and the USA. The sites are stunning: A ruined folly on a cliff overlooking the Celtic Sea; the Sutra Hall of the 8th century Kiyomizu Temple; the Mongolian Gobi Desert; the abandoned 19th century Holy Cross Church in Cincinnati. The aim? To spark a relationship between audiences and the natural world, as he puts it, to seek "manifestations of universal connections between mankind and nature."

To celebrate the poetic beauty of 11 installations in the series, Italian publishing house Damiani has created a monograph, Global Tree Project, that will be published in September of this year (available for pre-order now). Included are essays by Patricia J. Graham, Justine Ludwig, Kuninori Matsuda, Sarah Tanguy, and the artist.

In the meantime, here's a sneak peak at some of the lovely moments documented in the book.

Global Tree Project© Global Tree Project
Installation of "Hanging Garden" (also pictured top): Holy Cross Church, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Note from the artist: No, no trees were harmed/killed in the installation of this work. After the installation, the dead tree’s roots, multiple trunks, and branches were transported and transformed into new works by Art Academy of Cincinnati sculpture students. The live tree was replanted beside the church.

Global Tree Project© Global Tree Project
"AQUA: omohalos" an installation with apple seeds and indigenous stones inside an 18th-century folly: Roches Tower, Cork, Ireland.

Global Tree Project© Global Tree Project
"Twin Constellations" dedicated to two 19th-century monks who created rock drawings -- gold leaf on granite: Baga Gazrin Chululuu, Gobi desert, Mongolia.

Global Tree Project© Global Tree Project
"Star Nest" installation with gold leaf, stone, tree: Baga Gazrin Chululuu, Gobi desert, Mongolia.

Global Tree Project© Global Tree Project
"Disappearances: an eternal journey" large-scale installation with fossils, coral, gypsum, burnt limestone, and rainwater: SiTE:Lab + University of Michigan School of Art & Design, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Global Tree Project© Global Tree Project
"Sleeping Vishnu Tree" an installation of gilded folding screens with statues of Buddha: Sutra Hall, Kiyomizu, Temple, Kyoto.

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