Hypnotizing flower-themed sculptural exhibit coming to Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Jean-Michel Othoniel, view of the exhibition Treasure Gardens at Seoul Museum of Art and Imperial Palace Garden, Seoul (South Korea), 2022. Photo by CJY ART STUDIO. © Jean-Michel Othoniel / ADAGP, Paris & ARS, New York 2023.
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is hosting a new sculptural exhibition in three of its most well-known garden spaces this summer. Created by French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, “The Flowers of Hypnosis” consists of six separate flower-like sculptures inspired by Othoniel’s passion and observations of nature and work on a landscape scale. The sculpture series, Othoniel’s largest exhibition in the United States since 2012, will be on view at the BBG from July 18 through October 22, 2023.
Jean-Michel Othoniel, Gold Lotus for The Flowers of Hypnosis at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Photo by Claire Dorn, Perrotin. © Jean-Michel Othoniel / ADAGP, Paris & ARS, New York 2023.
Located in BBG’s Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, the exhibition’s “Gold Lotus” series is meant to “link the spiritual to the sensory,” according to a press release. “Gold Lotus” includes three separate lotus flowers made of gold leaf and stainless steel that lie throughout BBG’s serene Japanese garden. The lotus flower is known to represent spirituality, rebirth, enlightenment, and all things sacred.
Situated throughout BBG’s Fragrance Garden, a space meant to stimulate both the senses of smell and touch, is Othoniel’s “Gold Rose.” In the sculpture, the rose takes on the form of a kinetic structure made up of a “great corolla” of golden pearls set on top of a black steel rod. The perfect shape of the rose has been a motif present throughout Othoniel’s body of work, including in some of his paintings presented in the Louvre in 2019.
Jean-Michel Othoniel, Mirror Lotus for The Flowers of Hypnosis at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2023. Photo by Claire Dorn, Perrotin. © Jean-Michel Othoniel / ADAGP, Paris & ARS, New York 2023.
“Mirror Lotus,” two gigantic mirror bead sculptures, are located in BBG’s Lily Pool Terrace and sit on the surface of the lily pools, responding to each other and immersing the viewer in their reflections.
“Gardens leave a great deal of space for the irrational, the inexplicable, the extravagant; they are places of mystery, magic, and secrecy. The large sculptures in gold and mirrors installed on the water are there to hypnotize us, to make us forget the world’s harshness, and to lift us out of the disillusionment of modernity and boredom,” Othoniel said.
“The garden of golden flowers is in between dream and reality, offering up, while you stroll through, a moment of reenchantment. The Flowers of Hypnosis carry within them the spell of the imaginary.”
Jean-Michel Othoniel, view of the exhibition Narcissus Theorem at Petit Palais-Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris (France), 2021. Photo by Othoniel Studio. © Jean-Michel Othoniel / ADAGP, Paris & ARS, New York 2023.
“Jean-Michel has a passion for gardens, flowers, and the natural world that reveals itself in his works for The Flowers of Hypnosis, which respond to and enhance their garden settings,” Adrian Benepe, president of the garden, said.
“This exhibition offers unexpected sights and encounters around BBG, making a visit to the Garden even more enchanting. Brooklyn Botanic Garden is honored to share its world-renowned landscapes and gardens with an artist of international standing who shares our love for plants and gardens.”
Entrance to Othoniel’s “Flowers of Hypnosis” is free with Garden admission.
BBG is also currently hosting “Power of Trees,” an exhibition and program series that helps visitors better understand the importance of trees through science and art exhibitions, tours, family programs, and special events. “Power of Trees” also includes “Branching Out,” six site-specific works created by local BIPOC artists. The exhibition is on view until October 22, 2023.