Beijing artist Ren Ri collaborated with bees to create this incredible three-part sculpture series named “Yuansu” that explores the connections between humans and nature. And as you can see, the results are spectacular. Michelangelo, eat your heart out.
According to Cool Hunting:
The artist’s unconventional medium is fascinating and has a life of its own—adding character and volatility to each piece of art. Ren Ri explains, “Beeswax is a very special material; it’s unstable and can change shape with temperature. The structure of wax cells is orthohexagonal, which is an inconceivable feature in the natural world and it’s a peculiarity of honeybees. Another reason behind the choice of bees is that I wanted to try to eliminate the subjectivity of the artist and the mediation of bees served this purpose.”
The name “Yuansu” (a neologism but also an assonance with the Chinese word for “element”) comes from Ren Ri’s long and close experience with bees: an artist and also a bee keeper, he sees in his work with bees as the truth of the relations between man and nature, which is often made by interference, harmony, destruction and moulding. He says “yuan” (translating to “element” or “unit”) is the essence from which life is shaped, “su” (meaning “mould”) stands for the manifestation of change, and “yuansu” as a whole can be considered a comprehension of the gestalt of life.
“Yuansu I: The Origin of Geometry” entail maps made of beeswax (picture above).
“Yuansu II” is a collection of beeswax sculptures embedded in transparent plastic polyhedrons.
For this second series, the queen been was placed at the centre of each polyhedron container in order to let the worker bees build symmetrically around her. Every seven days (reference to the Biblical Creation story), Ren changed the orientation of the honeycomb by rotating the structure on the side – the number of rotations depending on a dice roll. The dice are meant to introduce chance into the sculpture, letting the bees react to their new environment.
For “Yuansu III”, Ren forced bees to sting his face by pressing them on it in an attempt to highlight the relationship between humans and nature. Yeah, think he might be losing some people here. At least he didn’t use Asian giant hornets!
The entire “Yuansu” exhibition is at Beijing’s CAFA Museum until the 20 June 2014 and “Yuansu II” is on display Hangzhou’s T-Museum until 7 August.
By Aliaume Leroy
[Images via Weibo]