Thursday, 15 August 2019

Chihuly at Kew

A few weeks ago my friend Jude and I had a long overdue get together. Mostly we meet in central London and visit an exhibition and/or have a meal but this time we ventured west to Kew Gardens to wander, natter, catch up and see the fabulous glass installations of Dale Chihuly. The exhibition Reflections on Nature runs until October 27th and is well worth a visit. Actually Kew Gardens is well worth a visit never mind this wonderful exhibition. Who would thought that until two years ago I had never been, but since visiting for one of my sixty x sixty projects I have now been three times.

The exhibition is a wonderful partnership of art and nature, transforming the gardens into a fabulous outdoor gallery space. My favourite piece of the  installations we managed to spot was this glorious plant like sculpture comprising of wonderfully organic blown glass forms. Nestled in the pond in the newly refurbished Temperate House, against a background of ferns and trickling water, it was truly captivating.

There were several sculptures in the Temperate House, mostly well hidden in amongst the plants but one of the stars of the show was the "Temperate House Persians", large blue flower like forms specially designed for the exhibition and suspended 19m above the ground like a huge chandelier.

Two more stunning pieces were the matching pair of sculptures outside the Temperate House called "Opal and Amber Towers" perfectly reflecting the colours of the house.

"Sapphire Star" was quite breath taking, rising from the flower bed like a giant allium, again made of hundreds of individually blown forms.

And by the lakeside "Summer Sun" also built from individually blown forms... 1,483 to be precise! This one reminded me of writhing snakes just like Medusa's hair.

The Seattle based artist has said about the installations that he wants then "to appear like they come from nature, so if someone found them... they might think they belonged there". Mostly I think he has achieved this with spectacular art forms sitting together with one of the most amazing plant collections in the world. Definitely worth a visit... and we only saw a fraction of the 32 individual installations! That of course is the problem with meeting a friend to visit an exhibition, when you've not seen each other for a while. In fact Jude and I have been known to visit the V & A in the past and not get any further than lunch in the member's room... although if I remember correctly it was a very good lunch!


  1. I love Chihuly's work and Kew Gardens provide the perfect setting for these amazingly beautiful pieces. To see them in such natural surroundings must be quite magical. I can imagine what a great day you had with your friend to share it.

  2. There is also a Kew exhibition about colour in nature?


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