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Tomáš Libertíny: Following the Architecture of Bees

For glass sculpture The Sentinel, Tomáš Libertíny became a bee himself instead of working directly with bees.

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Text by Heini Lehtinen
Photography by Francesco Allegretto

For glass sculpture The Sentinel, Tomáš Libertíny became a bee himself instead of working directly with bees. The Slovakian designer created the sculpture in collaboration with Studio Berengo for Glasstress 2015, a biannual exhibition of contemporary glass.

This year’s Glasstress focuses on gothic forms through glass and explores how medieval ideas and communication methods have crept into the modern conscience despite technological advances. The Sentinel, which is on show at Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti in Venice, explores the theme through architecture of honeycombs, which is a familiar element to the designer.

“Unlike in many previous projects, bees have not been involved in making The Sentinel, although I have used an artifact from the beehive as an inspiration – a beautiful small appendix that looks like a window when you put it against light. The piece is very glass-like,” the designer explains.

“I’ve recently been interested in the architecture of honeycombs and the hexagon form, which is the most economic of forms, and can be widely found in nature – in the foam of beer, for instance. Bees using the hexagon is poetic architecture, and it has a connection with Gothic architecture.”

For The Sentinel, Libertíny designed a building block, which was then injection-moulded into glass.

“We make a steel mould and cast coloured glass into it. Then the blocks are hand-glued one by one,” the designer says. “It was a long process and, in a way, I became the bee in the project. There is a beautiful poetry in switching positions.”

Libertíny first collaborated with Studio Berengo in 2011 for Seed of Narcissus installation, for which the acknowledged glassmaking studio and the designer created a dispensed oval seed made of clear glass, covered with a soft layer of honeycombs made by bees.

Glasstress 2015 Gotika is a joint exhibition organized by the State Hermitage Museum and Studio Berengo, and curated by Dimitri Ozekov, director of Hermitage 20/21 and of contemporary art department in the museum, and Adriano Berengo, the founder of Studio Berengo. The event runs parallel to the 56th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia from 9 May–22 November 2015. •

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The Sentinel (2015) Glass, aluminium. Size 70 x 70 x 216 cm.
The Sentinel (2015) Glass, aluminium. Size 70 x 70 x 216 cm.
The Sentinel (2015) Glass, aluminium. Size 70 x 70 x 216 cm.
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