Tomáš Libertíny – Making Sculptures With Bees

Posted July 10th, 2012

Contemporary Art, Design, Sculptures, Slovakia, Videos

Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny was awarded The Designer of The Future during Art Basel 2009. Today he makes sculpture with live bees. So why is his new work “Unbearable Lightness” a wakeup call for Earth? “Whatever you do,” says Tomáš Libertíny, “don’t make the bees angry.”

The Bees

Tomas Gabzdil Libertiny’s “Unbearable Lightness” presented by Carpenters Workshop Gallery at Design Miami/ Basel 2010

Stuart Jeffries reports for The Guardian: “We’re standing in a field in Skanzen, Slovakia, in front of a row of hives that contain Libertíny’s latest work in progress. One thing guaranteed to make bees angry, apparently, is blocking the flight path from their hives – which is exactly what I’m doing as I stand there like a gormless idiot, savouring the scent of acacia honey on the breeze.

Libertíny’s “living bee sculpture” will be installed on the lawn of the Natural History Museum in London later this month. Called The Agreement, this 1.6m-tall work is formed of beeswax and live bees; part of the Exhibition Road show, a science and culture festival, it will sit inside a glass tower to draw attention to the calamitous decline of the European honey bee.

In 2008, the then farming and animal health minister Lord Rooker warned: “Bee health is at risk and, frankly, if nothing is done, the honey bee population could be wiped out in 10 years.” Later, Guardian journalist Alison Benjamin wrote a book called A World Without Bees in which she analysed the global decline of honey bees, a result of pesticides, monocultural farming and a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.

Over lunch, a delightfully dewey-eyed apiarist, there to assist Libertíny delivers a passionate eulogy in Slovakian to the honey bee. Despite understanding next to nothing, I find myself welling up. Libertíny translates: “Bees create 10 of the most important substances known to man, including honey, royal jelly, the bee sting, which has medical uses, propolis and beeswax. Bees purify the air! Birds and bears eat them! They pollinate 85% of vegetation on Earth! And yet we have made the world unliveable for bees. We must save them!”

Libertíny’s work celebrates their powers of construction. “What I’m doing is inviting new colonies to make their homes here,” he says, pointing to the hives. “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.”

Read on at The Guardian


This interview is a reaction on the article ‘the Designer as Artist’, by Louise Schouwenberg. In Metropolis M Magazine, nr 5, 2010.

Tomas Libertiny – The Nature of Design


Tomas Libertiny at the Glasstress 2011 with his work “The Seed of Narcissus”, 2011

The Paper Vase by Tomas Libertiny