tomas gabzdil libertiny: unbearable lightness
tomas gabzdil libertiny: unbearable lightness tomas gabzdil libertiny: unbearable lightness
jun 22, 2010

tomas gabzdil libertiny: unbearable lightness


during design miami / basel 2010, carpenters workshop gallery (london) presented ‘unbearable lightness’ by dutch designer tomáš gabzdil libertiny. suspended on four chains and a hook, the small cabinet is a clean-room unit that has been built from custom aluminium profiles, glass sheets and plastic inserts, elements which are typically used in the automation industry.


for this specific event, the base plate of the glass was cut with a queen restrictor mesh.over the course of the fair, 40 000 worker bees were released into the case to complete a wax honeycomb structure over the figure of a martyred christ rising out of the chaos, his weight seeming to be upheld by the mass strength of the swarm. the artist managed to gain complete control over the bees and lure them to construct their hive precisely over the figure within the vitrine that is made of a laser sintered framework. the industrious bees created a honeycomb skin over the figure before filling each cell with the honey they produce. then bees worked to remove the honey from the cells and return it to the beehive, cleaning the martyred christ back to the wax cells they originally created.

tomas gabzdil libertiny: unbearable lightness

bees hard at work on the figure of the martyred christ image courtesy of carpenters workshop gallery



libertiny’s allegory engages us with his desire to manipulate and control a social wild-life entity as the means to fulfilling the final product. here the bees, engaging in their repetitive natural process while unknowingly creating the world’s most recognized religious effigy. the suspended closed cabinet references the strict boundaries of society where the toil of everyday duty is masked by the hope of eternal rest in an afterlife promised by the believer. the bees are programmed to act for their queen who puppet-rules for libertiny. the viewer is able to recognize this element of manipulation of the bees while ignorant to the invisible constraints and measures imposed on our own existence. initially, tomáš introduced a natural red pigment into the mold which bees spread evenly across the whole figure. the red relates to blood and flesh and is also the only color in the visible spectrum that bees do not see.

tomas gabzdil libertiny: unbearable lightness

the honeycomb skin the bees created image courtesy of carpenters workshop gallery

tomas gabzdil libertiny: unbearable lightness

designer tomáš gabzdil libertiny image courtesy of design miami / basel

tomas gabzdil libertiny: unbearable lightness

image courtesy of carpenters workshop gallery

tomas gabzdil libertiny: unbearable lightness

bees hard at work image courtesy of carpenters workshop gallery


  • bad idea

    anyone says:
  • cool idea says:
  • been done before by Canadian Aganetha Dyck

    c epp says:
  • Seen this ‘technique’ before as well, but for ID work, a vase I think. But I like this, and I like it better then Ms.Dyck’s work, personally. Wondering how he colored the honey comb?

    jk says:
  • nice work

    mmm says:
  • it’s always been done before it seems. Now there is variation of what has been done before, and this is a neat variation!

    JTS says:
  • i think has more meaning here than in the case of the vase (droog).

    they give color to the wax depending ond the kind of flower the bees colect

    brodba says:
  • At first glance, I thought they used [url=]this technique:[/url] says:
  • its a bit Damien Hirst; The live bees (or flies), the crucifixion, the vitrine…

    mugpunter says:
  • Incredibly cool idea.

    bbaltimorebrown says:
  • Too bad Aganetha Dyck already thought of that several years ago in Winnipeg. I’m glad the internet doesn’t let anyone get away with anything! 🙂

    p says:
  • [url=]Garnet Puett[/url]

    Bob says:
  • does that guy think he’s christ

    chrissakes:-( says:
  • awful. arrogant. anthropocentric. messianic. messy and nix.
    ‘ideas’ themselves are boring now -thanks to the marketing of cleverness in art (the idiot child of conceptual art). especially offensive are ‘ideas’ that exploit other creatures, even other species, and basically enslave them into performing a shallow, flaccid, self promoting art production. bees, mold, flies, trees, pollen, hundreds of naked people.. all the same

    in this case it’s proof positive that bees are better architects, artists, designers, crafters, cooks, material developers etc, than any human. they only seem to lack the capacity to strike, to refuse to go to work

    for fools

    revere says:
  • oh and.. bees to not require the unbearably self important and horrific superstition of a bronze age sun god sacrificing his son to redeem them from sin. they just get on with making honey

    revere says:
  • Yes Aganetha Dyck pioneered the thought and the technique. Where he has taken it, is uniquely his own. Nice though, when hommage is paid to the initiator.

    Elder says:
  • nothing new I think. As always, the man forces the nature to follow shapes created by him. spectacular work of bees, not of designers!

    ari says:
  • Sorry, I admire the creativity but it leaves a lump in my stomach considering the plight of honey bees (especially in the USA) as a result of man’s manipulation of their immune system (for profit, what’s new?) and the very real possibility of their extinction and ensuing consequences for mankind. Or haven’t you heard?

    Mike Scott says:

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