We all know honeybees are essential to our food system and tireless workers, but who would have thought they could be artists too? Bejing-based artist Ren Ri collaborates with these fascinating insects to create stunning sculptures that incorporate the element of chance. Each sculpture is the result of a joint effort between Ri and a colony of bees he has been keeping since 2008.
Ren Ri‘s work often explores humans’ relationship with nature, and his latest project, Yuansu II, took the risky step of working with bees and their wax – which tends to be unstable and easily subject to temperature changes. The result is a series of beeswax sculptures that sit in transparent plastic polyhedrons.
The bees did the grunt work of building the honeycomb, while Ri manipulated the environment and his group of collaborators to suit his creative designs. Each sculpture started out with the queen bee suspended in the center using wooden sticks that encourage the bees to build around her – and every seven days he changed the polyhedron’s orientation based on a random roll of a dice.
According to Complex, the name Yuansu comes from the words yuan and su, which mean “element” and “mold,” and the Chinese word in itself translates roughly as “comprehension of the gestalt of life.” This reflects Ri’s belief that his sculptures represent the truth of how humans interact with nature, which involves harmony, destruction, molding and interference. This world produces results that are often unpredictable, sometimes volatile, and occasionally beautiful. If you happen to be in China, Yuansu II is on display at the T-Museum in Hangzhou until August 7, 2014.
Images via Ren Ri