modern shohin display

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modern shohin display

Post  Walter Pall on Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:47 pm

I was asked to provide 15 to 20 shohin for an upcoming shohin exhibit in Bavaria, Germany. They just wanted the trees with stands. Now how many small stands does one have? Anyway, since quite a while I was contemplating the possibility to show shohin in a modern way. I am just not smart enough for these rules and regulations that one rads about exhibition shohin. And I don't have the tables nor scrolls. But I think I have a feeling how I would exhibit small artifacts in general without any reference to bonsai tadition. So I had a couple dozen of these acrylic blocks made. They are very well done, look professional and are water proof.
These are my first tries. One set for broadleaved trees and the other one for conifers. I am sure traditionalists will tear me to pieces. Well, this is my first try and I possibly will improve this. But I will certainly not change it to traditional.
The conifer one does not please me really, while I like the broadleaved one. So we will have to try a bit more.








Last edited by Walter Pall on Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:03 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  Todd Ellis on Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:01 pm

You use what you have to work with. Art is art and your displays look very nice, neat, simple (is best) and pleasing to look at. I would love to have "that many stands and scrolls too", but like you said, who has that many?
Your shohin trees are beautiful! Salut, Todd

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  thomasj on Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:05 pm

I see nothing wrong with this display in fact I like it a lot. Sure it's a long way from the traditional sense, but it has that eye catching appeal for sure. It also helps very much that the flow of the trees, the way you organized your set up, works really with the different heights and placement of the cubes. Though I would consider myself pretty much a traditionalist when it comes to bonsai, I also let my eyes and my heart judge what I see, and this looks really good to me. Very Happy

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  JimLewis on Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:21 pm

My main argument about these displays -- especially the first two -- is that they are a bit sterile, and regimental. The third display is a bit better. Super trees, but the stands seen to steal the show.

IMO, of course.

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  MACH5 on Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:32 pm

Walter I like stepping out of what's traditional. I love the idea! Are you thinking of breaking up the space between the cubes in your final display?? Also I would perhaps consider varying the proportions of the cubes even more so. Perhaps this is what Jim is referring to. Right now looks a bit too repetitious.

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  Kalogero on Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:46 pm

Hi Walter,
I like the idea, but the trees seem to be a little too "straight", like a military procession. Why do not break symmetry a little ?

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  Guest on Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:52 pm

Walter,

As a practicing architectural designer and landscape designer i love your display. IMHO-its like a modern a modern building blocks, complemented by a minimalist landscape . simply neat and nice. i think it will complement with other traditional display in the show... like modern buildings in built in china that compliments the traditional surroundings.

regards,
jun

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  Guest on Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:12 pm

Hi Walther

Despite being that "traditionalist" I do like your modern display Shocked A few comments that might give inspiration to improve them further from my point of view.

I would like fewer trees in the display, adding space between some of the cubes. As it is now, it is difficult for the eye to find a fixation point and peace. And the cubes are dominating too much this way, but breaking them up will give a more pleasing setup I think.

Maybe mixing the broad-leaf trees with conifers will add more dynamic to the displays as well, but that is not necessary. As long as there are dynamic movement between the trees. There are good balance between the peaces, and the no trees are pointing out of the display. A rule/guideline that is important in a shohin display. (I clearly prefer guideline in stead of rule. It is commonly misunderstood that there are rules regarding everything. Only the height of the trees and the space the organisers allows for displaying are rules to organize).

Using `what you haveĀ“ is a necessity for most of us. So we go for it with what we have available. Your trees looks fine by the way.

Please do not think of the traditional display of Shohin as being "ruled" out of development. There are many ways to express the seasons if that is one wants to do. No rules, just guidelines - also for traditionalists Very Happy

Shohin-bonsai is about showing the feeling of the season (if we like to take the original approach), and this can be expressed in many ways. Yours is one way to do it. Showing flowering/fruit bearing trees will improve that part.

I am currently waiting for an artist to paint some new scrolls for display, that will not be the traditional Japanese ones. If they work I will show them here later on. Even traditionalists dare lol!

Best regards
Morten Albek




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Re: modern shohin display

Post  Kevin Yates on Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:33 pm

Hi Walter,
I'm finding it interesting that recently a majority of your posts here and on your blog, you set up the images/displays/bonsai containers by stating that "the traditionalist won't like this", but the responses I read are all positive.
I personally don't find what you are creating that radical, the stands look very much like modern methods of store front window display, and your resent naturalistic rock inspired pots are in sense variations on rock/moon primitive pots. I enjoy them, but I don't see how or why you feel people won't. What I would love to hear instead is why you have paired up trees to pots, and trees to stands and as the artist explain more of your intension behind each, and why you feel it is more interesting and exciting. Please don't see this as any sort of attack, that is not my intension but just that I've been waiting for a bit more about what your work is about from you.
As for this post, I think it is interesting that you have been recently swapping out your traditional angular pots for naturalistic pots, to I assume compliment the the naturalistic trees, but in this display you are enforcing anything but this naturalistic approach.
Thanks,
Kevin

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  mike page on Tue Sep 07, 2010 4:58 pm

Walter, I like your idea. It's a very clean and museum-like display. Having said that, one comment. I would like to see more change in altitude from tree to tree. The overall display seems too "regular".

Best Regards

Mike

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  Guest on Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:10 pm

I have to agree with Grafton. This is nothing new at all. Colin Lewis was displaying trees like this over 20 years ago.

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  pootsie on Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:11 pm

It is not traditional!

GET HIM!

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  irene_b on Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:42 pm

I LOVE IT!!!

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moder shohin display

Post  Bob Bailey on Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:11 pm


Sorry Walter,as much as I admire you as a bonsai artist your shohin displays remind me of a bonsai sales area in a nursery or trade stand at a show.Lovely trees though.
An old traditionilst B.B

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  Mike Jones on Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:36 pm

Hello Walter

I believe anyone who is not a Bonsai enthusiast visiting the show will love the display of Shohin that you have created, and see absolutely nothing wrong whatsoever. In which case I would say you have succeeded rather well.

I suppose I may have a different idea for displaying the Shohin, as indeed would others. That however is what makes life so interesting and fun. Oh hell, it would be a boring life if we all agreed on the same things. Thank goodness for individualism.

Mike

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Modern Shohin Display

Post  Alsoares on Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:40 pm

Walter, I love it, very silple, sometimes is better, thanks Al affraid

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  jgeanangel on Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:54 pm

I am all for non-traditional displays...I think this post and this one are ample evidence of that...

I do like the cleanness of this display but what I miss is the story. As mentioned already, I agree that this display could very easily be just a sales display. So, if it's only about the trees than I guess this approach might work. But for me, display, traditional or not, is about using the trees and/or other artifacts to impart a story that is bigger than just the trees alone. Perhaps as Morton mentioned mixing the species might be helpful.

One other factor that may, or may not, help is to attempt to provide more variation in the sizes of the trees...I know this is specifically about small trees and that makes it a little more difficult but as I look at your broadleaf arrangement virtually every tree has an identical visual mass. Perhaps some variation in this visual mass could benefit the overall perception and flow of the entire display.

Next month I will be able to share another alternative to traditional display from the Carolina Bonsai Expo:)

John

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  stavros on Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:36 pm

In photography, one of the most important things that make some pictures stand out from the rest is simplicity. Simplicity helps us focus on the subject. I love the idea of displaying bonsai on a stand that is simple, "clean", and gives to the tree all the necessary exposure. Very different from the traditional Japanese way of exhibiting trees, but really nice and modern.

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  sulrich on Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:40 pm

Hi,

I also like the 'architectural' look of this display very much, and agree with MACH5 - it would be interesting to see how it would look with a bit of additional space between the blocks. BTW may I ask where in Bavaria this shohin exhibit will be? ;-)

Best regards,
Stefan

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  Walter Pall on Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:52 pm

Stefan,

this is the best kept secret. I myself are not so sure other than it is in the very north of Bavaria.

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  Walter Pall on Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:19 pm

Here are individual images of the shohin. In Germany everything that is smaller then 26 cm, 10 inches is a shohin.
This is a small regional exhibit. Therefore I show trees which sometimes are not quite ready, which I would never show at a big event.

Acer palmatum


Acer palmatum


Acer palmatum


Parthenocissus tricuspicata, Boston ivy


Lonicera nitida dwarf honeysuckle


Olea europea, olive


Deutzia grazilis, deutzia, garden shrub


Spirea vanhottei, garden shrub


Buxus microphyllum Korean boxwood


Buxus microphyllum, Korean boxwood


Buxus mircrophyllum, Korean boxwood


Buxus microphyllum, Korean boxwood







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Re: modern shohin display

Post  Walter Pall on Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:28 pm

More of these:

Larix decidua, European larch


Pinus nigra Austriaca, Austrian black pine


Pinus nigra Austriaca, Austrian black pine


Pinus mugo, mugo pine



Scots pine








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Re: modern shohin display

Post  AndyRutledge on Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:36 pm

Walter, I always admire your work, but there's a reason that traditional shohin display is composed as it is (in its varied forms). You know this, of course, but I'm compelled to wonder why you'd think this is a good approach here.

Again, wonderful artistry and technique in your trees/pots, but one does not create new art by abandoning artistic foundations, right? Smile

Kind regards,
Andy

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  fiona on Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:16 pm

If you went to any flower show in the UK including the world-famous and highly prestigious Chelsea Flower Show, you would see bonsai displayed as Walter has displayed his Shohin here - on uniform coloured "base blocks" spread out acorss a table top and with a similar type of height variation.

And being awarded equally prestigious Gold Medals and international kudos for it.

I'm not saying that approach is correct, but can we say it is wrong either?

Thanks to the inspiration and education provided by people like Morten, I have come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the traditional display. I do like traditional displays, but I see no reason why I should not like innovative ones as well, and the one Hans' has shown in another thread is a case in point. IMHO "tradtional" displays of anything are often there for the only reason that "that's the way we've always done it", and quite possibly because no-one has thought (or in some cases dared) to break away.

Funnily enough, for me Walter's display is not really innovative enough. But then again he did say he was just at the experimental stage of this project.

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Re: modern shohin display

Post  Bob Pressler on Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:40 am

I like it, but as other have said would like to see a bit of space between some of the pieces.
The NanPu Kai show in Los Angeles is done in a similar way.
Some very cool trees.

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Re: modern shohin display

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