Page loading...

The museum of bonsai

  • Exhibition
  • 4 October 2023 - 30 September 2024

Beginning in October 2023, the terrace of the MAO will be transformed into an open-air museum, a garden of peace, discovery and study that will house eight bonsai specimens selected by Massimo Bandera, among Italy's and the world's leading bonsaists.

As curator of the project, Bandera will propose a periodic replacement of the specimens on display, which will be chosen according to the natural cycle of the seasons and the archetypes of Sino-Japanese symbolism. Within a renewed vision of the museum as an open place and social space, the Bonsai Museum also represents an opportunity for MAO to rethink the art object and an opportunity to offer visitors a novel overhang, a new perspective from which to observe the Asian world.

Originating in China more than 2,000 years ago, where the practice consisted of creating incredible miniature landscapes, bonsai arrived in Japan in 700 CE, where it underwent a radical transformation and, by focusing exclusively on plants, developed an original and aesthetically well-characterized style.
The term bonsai, which literally means "tree pruned in a pot," is a practice deeply influenced by Japanese Zen Buddhism and combines botanical wisdom with an aesthetic idea related to the concept of seishi, the art of shaping and cultivating with respect for the plant. Despite its size, bonsai is therefore living nature and retains all the energy contained in a normal-sized tree.
Following his idea of "avant-garde bonsai," that is, acting with the utmost respect for the reality of nature, eschewing stereotypes and safeguarding one of the fundamental principles of Japanese aesthetics that nature should not be copied, but its creative process should be imitated, Massimo Bandera presents at MAO a selection of trees including pines, junipers, maples, apple trees and hornbeams from the Masiero Bonsai Museum's collection, which will be alternated according to the season.


In case of bad weather the terrace is not accessible