Bees Unknowingly Create Artful Maps of the World

Rebecca OConnell

Chinese artist Ren Ri enlisted the help of a colony of bees to create incredible maps out of honeycombs.

Ri starts with metal and wooden frames. To get the insects to cooperate, the artist moved the queen bee to certain locations. The queen released pheromones that told the worker bees where to build the hives. As a result, Ri was able to "paint" with bee hives.

The artist has been beekeeping since 2006, and has been using bees as an accomplice for various projects.

Yuansu, or "a comprehension of the gestalt of life," is a three-part series that features maps, creepy abstract sculptures, and a live performance. The maps were completed in 2008.

"The duality of interactions between the human body and the bees is not simply in the physical sense; more importantly it hints at an interrelated force and its counterforce,” Ri says.

Bees are often used in artwork. Artist Tomás Libertíny once put a mold of a man in the crucifixion pose inside a glass box with bees. Another artist named Raoul Kramer makes colorful vases out of honeycombs.


United States