He works elbow-to-elbow with bees, an endangered species, in the context of art and design. “The fact that bees are disappearing is alarming”- he told us -” ‘Made by bees’ project at least helped to raise awareness of their importance and fragility. They are the true heroes: both sensitive and resilient”.
The modern Renaissance, multifaceted designer, Tomáš Gabzdil Libertiny, was born in Roznava, Slovakia in 1979 (his father is an architecht and the mother a historian; the double souls and visions he embodies in his work). He moved to the Netherlands in his youth years- where he studied at the famous Design Academy of Eindhoven – and opened the Rotterdam-based studio in 2007.
We met him, and his Paper Vase mystic object, in Perugia (already a few years ago) on the occasion of the Over Design Over exhibition curated by Marco Rainò and Andrea Margaritelli.
His interest in design is focused on how design can contribute to make somebody (or the world?) better. His ambition to experiment design (as well art, sculpture and painting) possibilities takes him to develop new clever ideas using natural elements and manual craft but with methodologies never explored before (he’s a hands-on type of guy). His works have been exhibited the world over: Miami, Basel, New York and London.
“Function is a potential” he explained back then “All objects can be something, It’s a choice!”.
And it is indeed a choice to work with an unusual “team” of co-workers; the bee colonies that have been living on the roof of the Kunsthal. He drew his inspiration from the The Karamazov Brothers, (the final novel by Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky) which represents a kind of shadow or anti-novel where two visions – one existential and tragic, the other christian and comic are unequally balanced trapped in between the hero and anti-hero philosophical cage.
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They have been “invited” to collaborate with Tomáš Libertíny on realising his newest work of art: ‘Eternity’. The protagonist is the designer’s idea, the attention shifts from the “product” to the idea that underlies it and the thought that it expresses. The move is from material to durable immaterial; the synthesis of concept and object in this specific case. (His project “Made by Bees” is to be showcased during the next 17th International Architecture Exhibition titled How will we live together ? curated by Hashim Sarkis and organized by La Biennale di Venezia).
Under the protection and assistance of the queen bee, the designer (and artist) lured the bee colony inside a 3D printed model-frame that he made to pay homage to another Queen of the past: Nefertiti. This technique “makes space” for the 60,000 little buzzing artists to work their magic.
Layer by layer they filled in the contours of the sculptural “construction” with precious beeswax. The end result took approximately two years before revealing the famous bust of Nefertiti, who was Queen during the 18th Dynasty of Egypt, it goes without saying that the process depended on the weather and the bees’ zest for work.
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Libertíny’s work is punctuated with a strong symbolism and power of expression, the artwork emphasise the continuing, never-ending natural life cycle – despite human intervention- embodied by the honey bee colony.
In his work Tomáš Libertíny explores the relationship between nature and technology. The Honeycomb Vase ‘Made by Bees’ prototype dates back to 2006 – and it was realised according to the same principle as his most recent work ‘Eternity’ – and is now on show at the MoMa in New York. The design process is the indication of an intuition, the final product is not the end but the means by which to create and convey meaning.
The two female-dominated bee colonies – as they are all daughters of the queen – have been living for years on the roof of the Kunsthal in Rotterdam. They determine the right moment for the males (drones), new workers or new queens to be born. The colony is therefore ‘eternal’: the honey bees are in control of their own succession and complete life-cycle.
Source: Tomáš Libertiny