A beautiful work of art can sometimes be a collaboration between several artists. However, Beijing-based artist Ren Ri has an unusual team of collaborators: bees. Together they create intricate honeycomb sculptures and maps from beehives in Ren’s sculpture series Yuansu I: The Origin of Geometry. Roughly translated, it means “a comprehension of the gestalt of life”.
The honeycomb sculptures are a result of Ren’s beekeeping hobby, which he picked up in 2006. Since then, he’s been grooming his bees’ beeswax output; encouraging his swarm to build its honeycomb structures in visually striking, sculptural forms. According to Ren, his sculptures show the harmony and destruction when humans interact with nature. Yet they produce unpredictable and wonderful results.
“The duality of interactions between the human body and the bees is not simply in the physical sense; more importantly it hints at an interrelated force and its counterforce.”
How the honeycomb sculptures are made
A queen bee is placed in the middle of a box and the artist changes the box’s position every seven days. This encourages the worker bees to focus their efforts in different directions, building natural beehives around the queen and resulting in the creation of amazing living structures. The resulting series of beeswax sculptures, collectively titled Yuansu II, are housed within clear plastic containers shaped like squares, polyhedrons, and circles.
“Beeswax is a very special material; it’s unstable and can change shape with temperature. The structure of the wax cells is orthohexagonal, which is an inconceivable feature in the natural world and it’s a peculiarity of honeybees.”
You can view more of Ren’s amazing honeycomb sculptures and find out more here.