Who needs an Easter Egg hunt when you can spring around Kew Gardens in search of Dale Chihuly’s ludic glass sculptures? You’re going to need something larger than a basket in order to hop home with one of these 32 dazzling works of art which nestle amongst the flora or stand icily proud in 13 locations around the gardens. Prepare to be blown away by the world’s most famous glass trailblazer: Chihuly’s Reflections on Nature is a contemporary outdoor art gallery like no other.
The last time the 77-year-old Seattle-based artist exhibited at Kew was in 2005. Garden Cycle was one of the garden’s most popular exhibitions, attended by 900,000 visitors. Of course, that was in the pre-Instagram era, and as this is surely set to become one of the most Instagrammable events that London has ever seen, prepare to be Chihuly-saturated.
And it will be no easy task picking the one image you’re going to stick up on social media. This is an exhibition that will have you under its spell from the moment you walk through Victoria Gate, where you are welcomed by the spiky, ice blue dandelion-like Sapphire Star.
Many of the works in Reflections on Nature have never been seen in the UK and include a piece commissioned especially for the Kew Gardens exhibition. The dramatic Temperate House Persians is a 10-metre poppy blue sculpture which hangs from the ceiling, with glassy alien structures growing from the beds below.
‘I want my work to appear like it came from nature, so that if someone found it on a beach or in the forest, they might think it belonged there.’ ~ Dale Chihuly
The good news is, if you ask the Easter Bunny really nicely, you could bag yourself your own mini Chihuly for a few coins. I’ll take one Periwinkle Persian, please.
Dave Chihuly: Reflections on Nature is on until 27 October. The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art includes an exhibition of some of Chihuly’s most technically challenging series: Drawings, Rotolo and Seaforms. You can also experience the artist’s outdoor sculptures during Chihuly Nights with specially commissioned music, featuring wind instruments and the human voice to reflect Chihuly’s use of breath in creating his artworks.