I never thought about Chinese Bonsai as a tree torture and I was very surprised to see a series of bonsai by Chinese artist Shen Shaomin presented at Frey Norris Gallery. Shen shows them trussed and tugged by the thumbscrew brackets, collars, and barricades that engineer their growth.
Shen connects his bonsai sculptures with the Chinese tradition of forcing women to bind their feet from an early age to disfigure them into conformity with a certain ideal of female beauty. But the disquiet that this show provokes has a more immediate source.
It arises from the bad faith of us who have watched silently while the U.S. government sanctioned torture as a tactic in its project of reshaping societies half a world away.
Here is Frey Norris Gallery site http://www.freynorris.com/
I was a little shocked when I saw these images. A lot of people think that the bonsai technique is cruel. Do you think Chinese Bonsai is about tree torture?