Tomáš Libertiny: THE AGREEMENT
Three artists have been commissioned to create a new work for Exhibition ROAD SHOW.
The Unbearable Lightness
The Honeycomb Vase
THE AGREEMENT can be seen on the lawn at Museum Lane, between the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum.
Sir Herbert Read’s essay on the philosophy of art, Human Art and Inhuman Nature, proposes that art appears to be the resolution of and the answer to the human need to create; and to surround oneself with artificial or constructed artifacts, rather than those that were naturally occurring. Read’s thesis extended the ideas of Oscar Wilde, who expressed the view that it was nature that required an object, the viewer, in order for its beauty to be realised. On its own, nature’s plurality, fragmentation, was, Wilde believed, monotonous; the viewer’s appreciation of the beauty of the botanical garden is nature organized, constructed, artificial, and achieved by the mediation of the human hand.
What Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny’s work attempts is to embrace this juxtaposition of natural / artificial in a way that the two axis are not in conflict, but in compliment. THE AGREEMENT explicitly connects the natural and artificial in the creation of an artwork, in this one vessel. The implied meaning of the work’s title is that of a constructed harmony. Libertíny is not interested in a copy – a mimesis of nature – nor in the creation of an artificial object in opposition to nature. THE AGREEMENT is a project where artificial becomes natural.
THE AGREEMENT is more architectural than sculptural work. Libertíny is building and constructing a work of art as a structure out of specific material and according to a concrete plan. The design of honeycomb, like all natural forms, is a strategy, serving to support the bees’ survival not existing to provide a geometry that appeals to the human eye. The function of honeycomb is to create a home, a house which is growing, is changing and is in possession of its own life. The architecture of Libertíny respects the laws of nature, deploying nature’s curves, in the design of a self-supporting home. The shape itself is not a work of sculpture, but an endeavor for quest of stability using human intervention and innovative technologies. In this way THE AGREEMENT is a manifestation of rationalization of form.
A beehive by itself is not beautiful, nor perfect, simply natural. Libertíny’s active engagement in nature is recalibrating, changing, constructing new principles and offering a different plan to the bees – a proposition. And what is the reaction? The signing of an agreement, the acceptance of a challenge… The artist’s construction becomes a natural platform for the work of swarm of bees; for the work of art itself, as a dialogue with nature, the bee’s acceptance is an inevitable creative response to the artist’s intent.
Behind its specifically designed glass, THE AGREEMENT becomes theatre for the audience, a staged architecture where a show is unfolding for a human observer. Libertíny is choosing a partner for his work. His young bees, set to build a home for themselves and for their queen, are determined to be extremely productive to construct the work. As an author, Libertíny is entering into their lives, is helping and creating a space for them; he is, in a way, living with them and is cognizant of their inner relations and to us he is offering an possibility to take a pleasure in their magnificence, what Kant described as the sublime, “the name given to that which is absolutely great.”
Chelsea Physic Garden, Natural History Museum and Imperial College also house hives. The Natural History Museum will host parallel events to coincide with this installation.
Having trained as an industrial engineer in Slovakia, Libertíny was awarded the George Soros Open Society Institute Scholarship in 2001 and studied at the University of Washington in Seattle exploring painting and sculpture. Since receiving his MFA from the Design Academy Eindhoven his work has been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and Cincinatti Art Museum, and he recently created pieces for Art Basel and the Venice Biennale.
Special thanks to:
Peter James - Beekeeper, Chelsea Physic Garden
Twickenham and Thames Valley Bee Keepers Association
Rudolf Moravčík - Beekeeper, Bee Keeping Museum, Bratislava
Jaap Huigen and Odin Visser
This projected has been realised with the financial support of the Mondriaan Fund, Amsterdam.