- Tree of Photosynthesis

 1. Argenteuil 2006
 2. Mining Museum in the Nord/Pas de Calais Region, France 2007 (video)

Argenteuil 2006
 at dawn

Solo Show - Shigeko Hirakawa

"Tree of Photosynthesis"

(Commissioned by the City of Argenteuil)

October 9 - December 2, 2006

Exhibition organized by the Direction of Cultural Development of the City of Argenteuil in France

Tree of Photosynthesis is one of the elements of the project "Air in Peril" (Nature-7).



Tree of Photosynthesis

(Commissioned by the City of Argenteuil, France in 2006)

"Tree of Photosynthesis" has been produced for the first time in Argenteuil. "Tree of Photosynthesis" is the key element of the project « Air in Peril » which was conceived in 2004 - in the same year I produced "Molecule of Oxygen" in New York.

The 20-meter-high Catalpa tree bears 1500 plastic discs, of dimensions close to those of its real leaves. These plastic discs contain photochromic pigments, and thus the tree with the artificial leaves endeavours to revive photosynthesis through changing color: they are violet while receiving solar rays but become translucent milky-white by night.
In the day, in accordance with the intensity of solar rays which hit it, each disc is uniquely colored, depending on its position in the tree. The course of the sun makes for variation in the coloring of each disc, from brillant violet to pale pink which is almost transluscent.  

The idea of this project is to offer people a time to reflect on the relationship between nature and human activities, and to illustrate for them the latter's grave consequences, such as the degeneration of ecosystems in forests - the lungs of the Earth.

In Argenteuil, once the leaves fall and disappear, the artificial leaves will be unveiled, and the tree's transformation
into "Tree of Photosynthesis" will be complete.

Beyond this exhibition, a permanent "Tree of Photosynthesis" would stand as a constant reminder and prompt to
consciousness concerning the relationship between nature and human activities.  (S. H.)

See "Air in Peril" Project

Discs remaining white when just put out from cases

rainy and cloudy moirning works

a very fine day in the early afternoon at the begining of October 2006

1500 color changing plastic discs with photochromic pigment (22cm-diameter discs),
iron cable, 20-meter-high Catalpa tree

Changes within a day

by day

at sunset

by night


Changes during the two-month show from October through December

one afternoon in November

Photography on the 2nd December 2006

 Tree of Photosynthesis 2007 

      June 15 - September 30

Mining History Center - Mining Museum of the Nord/Pas de Calais Region
Lewarde, France

Solo Show of Shigeko Hirakawa

The second edition of Tree of Photosytnthesis in the North of France, 2007.
The video is a resume of what happened in chronological order to the artwork
during 7 hours from 4pm through to 11pm on June 15, day near the summer solstice.