When it comes to artistic glass works, few can match the credentials and talent of Dale Chihuly. Considered one of the world’s foremost glass artists, the Seattle artist has pushed the boundaries of glasswork for over 50 years.

An award-winning multi-media artist, Chihuly has showcased his impressive installations in museums, gardens, and public spaces around the world. Now Singapore has an opportunity to view his art form up close in a unique presentation held at Gardens by the Bay.

Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom sees the artist bringing his large-scale installations and sculptures to the city. The exhibition held at the Gardens by the Bay is currently on and will run until 1 August 2021.  The installation here marks the artist’s first major garden exhibition in Asia.

Dale Chihuly
Dale Chihuly, Ethereal White Persians, 2018 Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, installed 2021 © Chihuly Studio (Photo by Nathaniel Willson)

The exhibition will feature an extensive collection of the celebrated artist’s works. His colourful glass sculptures first gained popularity in America in the ’70s. To date, they have been exhibited in Kew Gardens, London, and the New York Botanical Garden. Gardens by the Bay will be the first Asian national garden to host his stunning masterpieces.

In conjunction with the opening of Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom, we spoke to the talented artist to find out more about the exhibition, his work in glass and his legacy as an artist.

Personally, and professionally, how does it feel to have your first garden exhibition in Asia?

I have had the privilege of exhibiting my work in some of the most iconic and beautiful gardens around the world. This exhibition at Gardens by the Bay already holds a special place in my heart because of the garden itself, which is so inspiring, and because it is the first international project of this scale that my team and I have completed since the onset of the pandemic.

Dale Chihuly
Dale Chihuly, 2017 © Chihuly Studio
The pandemic has changed the way we have approach things, especially events and exhibitions. As an artist how does it feel to have the opportunity for people to admire your work in physical events again?

I am eager to share my art with audiences again. I think art experiences work best when we can relate directly and intimately with the work. It gives me a lot of joy to know that visitors to Gardens by the Bay will encounter my art in person and with one another. There is nothing better than sharing art and nature with our family, friends, and colleagues.

With its idyllic setting, Gardens by the Bay seems like an ideal place for your artwork to be admired and for your art to further enhance the place. Do you agree?

I love exploring the unique dynamic between art and nature in any environment. At Gardens by the Bay specifically, my work takes on new life due to the remarkable and varied landscapes. It is the interplay of light, colour, form, and natural elements which I hope visitors will enjoy.

What are some of your major works you have selected for Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom ?

I created Setting Sun for this exhibition, and I am placing it across a long vista from the Moon, an installation I have not shown since its debut at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem in 2000. These works work beautifully in concert with one another in this setting.

What is the hardest part about working with glass to bring your artwork to life?

The hardest part about working with glass is also what drew me to the medium to begin with: the fragility of the material and fast pace of the blowing process. I love the dynamic and challenging nature of this work. The process keeps me energized and motivated to explore new ideas.

Dale Chihuly, White Tower, 1997, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, installed 2021 © Chihuly Studio (Photo by Nathaniel Willson)
Touching on fragility, it sounds like a massive undertaking to bring these works this far across the globe. Were there concerns with regards in transporting these large-scale artworks?

Pandemic conditions did add a new layer of complexity to our process. Fortunately, my team is extraordinarily skilled in handling the intricate logistics of an international exhibition, so we adjusted as needed to meet our timelines for the opening.

As an artist, what do you hope to inspire with your artwork?

My focus is to change environments with my work, to use colour, light, and form to create new narratives and reset the visitor’s expectations of a space. For me, artmaking is a powerful process, and I hope that those who see the work can sense the energy and excitement we felt when making it.

Dale Chihuly
Dale Chihuly, Moon, 1999, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, installed 2021 © Chihuly Studio (Photo by Russel Wong)
Which art piece in Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom are you most proud of and why?

It is seeing these works come together as a single exhibition that thrills me most. Having said that, I do want visitors to experience the interaction between the Moon, which has not been shown since 2000, and Setting Sun, which I created specifically for this exhibition.

Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom is currently on at Gardens by the Bay. Click here for ticketing and exhibition details.

written by.
Richard Augustin
Former chef turned writer; Richard has tip-toed around the publishing industry for two decades. When not busy chasing deadlines, you can still find him experimenting with recipes in the kitchen.

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