What to Expect at “Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom”

Singapore provides the latest garden setting for Dale Chihuly’s otherworldly glass creations.

Dale Chihuly’s Float Boat, a 2014 creation now on display at Gardens by the Bay’s Dragonfly Lake. (Photo: Nathaniel Willson © Chihuly Studio, all rights reserved)

Multicolored glass, technical artistry, and foliaged follies converge on Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay in Dale Chihuly’s first major garden exhibition in Asia. Running until August 1, “Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom” scatters 25 of the American glass artist’s exuberant installations across the water- front park’s vast landscaped commons and two glass-domed conservatories.

For neophytes of Chihuly’s oeuvre, the sculptures offer a compact retrospective of his work over the past two decades, art- fully bookmarked by the translucent blue bubble of Moon (which debuted at his landmark 2000 exhibition at Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum) and Setting Sun, a mesmeric tumble of red and yellow flames created for this event.

The curation and styling deserve particular applause. Every sculpture — their complexity and size balanced by an ethereal, colored weightlessness — has been placed in the gardens with such delicate care that they feel as if they’ve always been part of the grounds. The crimson spires of Red Bamboo Reeds, for instance, rise out of a thick bamboo grove like Bhutanese prayer flags; Float Boat, a sampan filled with outsize rainbow-hued balls, sits serenely on a lake; and Orange Hornet Chandelier hangs from a leafy arbor like a cluster of pupae.

For all their technical mastery, there is a touching, childlike optimism about Chihuly’s sculptures, especially when they’re set so organically and naturally amid Gardens by the Bay’s fantastical landscaping. It’s an emotive quality that feels particularly apt at a moment when the world feels so trammeled.

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This article originally appeared in the June/August 2021 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Out in Bloom”).

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