hubert duprat experiments with caddisfly larvae to form jeweled cocoons
image © designboom




showcased in the palazzo grassi during the venice art biennale 2015, ‘slip of the tongue‘ exhibition is where french artist hubert duprat has presented his unique experimentation of combining caddisfly larvae with precious stones. the insects in their natural habitat are known for collecting fragments of wood, sand, small stones and other debris- using this sediment to build their own shell to reduce their risk of being eaten by predators. for many years duprat has taken this knowledge to explore this artistic intersection by collecting the larvae from their fresh water environment, transporting them to his studio and replacing the debris with semi-precious and precious stones such as pearls, rubies, gold and sapphires. the insects, having adapted to this new environment, begin to use the available material to recreate their protective sheaths and after several weeks, the finished product along with the tiny jeweler emerges as a dazzling and naturally formed cocoon creation.

image © designboom
the caddisfly larvae build cases around their developing bodies, using materials found in their environment

image © designboom
duprat introduced jewels and precious stones into their aquatic environment

image © designboom
each cocoon is pieced together by the insect’s excretion of silk from their salivary glands

image courtesy of  galerie art concept


hubert duprat discussing his work




during the roman empire, the curator was the civil servant and public administrator of public utilities such as transport, hygiene, policing, sewer and drainage systems, aqueducts, navigation, roads, games, even accounting. they had the responsibility of ‘repairing’ things in a culture that values reuse and recycling over tabula rasa. in the middle ages, their mundane activities acquire a spiritual meaning, at a time when solicitude can be applied to both the souls of the people and their worldly affairs. without a doubt, these practices have provided the framework for the duties of the modern-­‐day curator.


for this exhibition, danh vo has been invited to collaborate with palazzo grassi – punta della dogana – pinault collection not only as an artist but also as a curator, working with the collection in conjunction with a number of invited artists. each of the objects and works of art (around 120) presented in the exhibitionseem to partake in the idea that the activity of the artist is aimed at the preservation and afterlife of objects rather than of their interpretation.


other artists that are also presenting at ‘slip of the tongue’ includes: leonor antunes, julie ault, nairy baghramian, giovanni bellini, constantin brancusi, marcel broodthaers, giovanni buonconsiglio, detto il marescalco, jos de gruyter & harald thys, elmgreen & dragset, luciano fabro, fischli & weiss, felix gonzalez-torres, petrit halilaj, david hammons, roni horn, peter hujar, tetsumi kudo, bertrand lavier, zoe leonard, francesco lo savio, lee lozano, robert manson, piero manzoni, sadamasa motonaga, jean-luc moulène, henrik olesen, pablo picasso, sigmar polke, carol rama, charles ray, auguste rodin, cameron rowland, carlo scarpa, andres serrano, nancy spero, sturtevant, alina szapocznikow, paul thek, danh vo, david wojnarowicz, martin wong.