For centuries, flowers have appeared in art as manifestations of Memento Mori, a Latin phrase that translates to "remember (that you have) to die." Artists from Philippe de Champaigne to Adriaen van Utrecht have incorporated plantlife in various states of decay to mirror the ephemeral nature of our fleshly bodies. Flowers, with their vibrant appearance and brief lifespan, perfectly embody the intense, exquisite and all too transitory nature of our mortal life.
Unless, of course, you freeze them in a giant block of ice, like artist Azuma Makoto.
In his exhibition "Iced Flowers," the Japanese artist encased flowers in oversized ice cubes, disrupting their natural flow of bloom and decay, placing them instead in an alien stasis that's never yet been observed. The wild flora, suspended in cages of liquid crystal, appear at first to have reached an immortal state. Yet when the ice begins to melt, the flowers warp and rot accordingly. A glowing light intensifies the subtle shifts in appearance taking place within the inorganic system.
This isn't the first time Makoto has explored the limits of extremely unorthodox floral arrangements. Last year he expelled swanky flower arrangements into the depths of outer space, capturing the hypnotic image of Bonzai trees cast against the backdrop of planet earth.
Check out the otherworldly beauty of frozen flowers below. It's all very "Beauty and the Beast," in the best and weirdest way possible.