Magazine article Sculpture

Lorne, Australia

Magazine article Sculpture

Lorne, Australia

Article excerpt

Elizabeth Presa

2014 Lome Sculpture Biennale

In Elizabeth Presa's Installations, active beehives function as small architectural objects that address dwelllng-ln and shelter. Her deeply process-oriented practice eguates materials with political and spiritual value to re-lmbue plaster, glass, wax, fabric, flour, paper, thread, bees, and snails with a significance either for- gotten or overlooked In the mad rush to commodification.

Since 2003, Presa has led the Inter- disciplinary Centre for Ideas at the University of Melbourne's Victoria College of Art. She recently traveled to the Vatican to do some research - the Pope's apiary Is home to half a million bees. During her travels, her latest work, Bee Village, was sched- uled for Installation at the 2014 Lome Sculpture Biennial, where the more than 30 small plaster hives cast from baskets were gathered to over- look the ocean. Presa's Instructions for the piece Included living beehives to be set among the sculptures "to create a sort of frenetic energy." Upon her return, she learned of a last-minute decision to exclude the live bees because they carried too much risk. She felt that what remained was "only half a sculpture."

Presa burned and blackened the outer walls of many Bee Village hives, which echoes a traditional Japanese method for weather resis- tance. She also dispersed seeds within the hives, which were meant to germinate during the biennial. Some of the hives were decorated with flowers, lace, and pure food colors, giving the Impression of a Lilliputian contingent of Imps, pixies, dryads, and sylphs convened to shel- ter and protect the bees. …

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