Bees are amazing creatures. The yellow-and-black-striped little critters make honey and royal jelly and, given a little bit of guidance, completely stellar sculptures made out of wax. In recent years, artists have picked up on the talent.
The unofficial sage of honeycomb sculptures is Tomáš Libertíny. This 34-year-old Slovakian designer has perfected a method for recruiting bees to become sculptors with little more than a rough shape to work on. This installation is called “The Unbearable Lightness,” which is a large figure covered in honeycomb produced by a swarm of 40,000 bees. Libertíny started working with bees five years ago when he let the creatures swarm over vase-shaped beeswax frames in his studio in Rotterdam. The shapes they created were more beautiful, organic and natural-looking than any he could have imagined.
His work celebrates construction power of bees. “What I’m doing is inviting new colonies to make their homes here,” he says, “They are looking to make a palace for their as-yet-infertile young queen. I make a light skeleton frame over which the bees regurgitate food I provide them with.” Initially, Tomáš introduced a natural red pigment into the mold which bees spread evenly across the whole figure. The red relates to blood and flesh and is also the only color in the visible spectrum that bees do not see.