Bonsai is a very frustrating medium for an artist. Although amazingly beautiful and zen-like in its focus on process rather than product, the dominant nature of the trees makes it extremely challenging for use in conceptual art pieces.


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That’s why traditionally, personal artistic expression in bonsai has always been done through the display, rather than the tree itself. But all around the world, current bonsai displays tend to be the same copies of the same template, in a sort of watered-down interpretation of traditional Japanese display.

We decided to change that in a world-first exhibition that would reinvent bonsai as a contemporary, Western art-form.

We’re a group of young designers from the Bezalel academy in Jerusalem, and a leading bonsai artist, who got together to try and bring the ancient art of bonsai up to speed with the contemporary art world.

Although we worked for four months to put this exhibition together, in keeping with the fleeting nature of bonsai (and to ensure the health and safety of the trees) the exhibition was only open for one day!

View of the main entrance hall to the exhibition

Work by Itamar Conforti – tree planted under a scaled-down model of an actual neighborhood

Work by Matan Rosen – A brutalist interpretation of a traditional Japanese tokonoma

Work by Emilya Gladun – a deconstructed Japanese tokonoma with video art for the scroll

Detail of Itamar’s work on the city

Work by Ofer Grunwald – using elements from traditional Japanese display to make a contemporary local statement

Detail of works in the gallery, showing another of Itamar Conforti’s pieces

Detail from another of the works in the exhibiton