I thought this might be tribute to Milan Kundera's book or something but obviously not?
I love the title and the concept, and the way it exhibits itself, surrounded by bees,
it feels like this is more than just one sculptural object, but definately touching my heart.
From the homepage of dutch designer Tomáš Libertiny
The Unbearable Lightness (2010) is a large sculptural object whose central figure is covered by a skin of natural honeycomb that was made by a swarm of 40.000 bees. The figure is fixed in a glass box reinforced with aluminum frames and suspended on industrial chains and heavy duty rigging system.
This new work is a continuation of the earlier work The Honeycomb Vase (2006). The premise was to work with beeswax, a seemingly very fragile and vulnarable material. Libertiny opted to find a story in the inconspicuous. The inspiration was taken from Dostoyevskij's Brothers Karamazov. There the main character Aloysha is seemigly a non-hero material throughout the whole book. He is however the most enduring character and closest to whom we are or what we would be in the book.
The natural beeswax is a by-product of life of a honeybee and comes in the form of a honeycomb cell. Libertiny found a way how to manipulate honeybees into building their home in a very concrete shape and control the process. His interest lies in alternation of a natural process in a way that is not natural thus creating tension between expectation and experience.
The Unbearable Lightness is a metaphor for manipulation and control. It is a result of the combination of technology and nature. The bees as an inteligent and social mass are lured and manipulated into participating in building a Christ-like figure which represents a myth. The bees are doing what they do every day and what they do the best. The bees are designed by nature to do this repetitive job. Conceptually, there is a major influence of Albert Camus and his work entitled "The Myth of Sisyphus" whom he calles a "tragic hero". He knows his destiny but "decides" to go on even if it means no escape. The Unbearable Lightness is a dialectic formulation on fate and free will. It is a bitter sweet sypmhony.
In the relation to Libertiny's other works, this is an extentesion of the idea and tradition of mimesis. However, Libertiny is more interested in immitation of a natural process (or a natural phenomena) itself rather then its representation. He also rather aims for something that nature alone would never do. So there is a tension between natural and industrial, freedom and control.
copyright Tomáš Libertiny