Bread + Honey
Photos : Tom Ross of Brilliant Creek
Read about the exhibition on the Hotel Hotel blog
Bread + Honey is an exhibition of twelve sculptural works of bread and honeycomb; the latter made and attached by Apis mellifera (the European honeybee). These objects highlight the intelligence of bees as animal architects; as well as the connection between bees and the food we eat.
We’ve always eaten bread + honey. Bread has been a dietary staple in the west for millennia and honey has been hunted, robbed, produced and consumed for longer than that. These materials are immemorial and can be traced to the ancients via archeological sites throughout the Mediterranean – jars of (still edible) honey were discovered alongside treasures in Egyptian tombs; loaves of bread were found, intact, in the ashes of Pompeii.
Artistically, the works are a continuation of an old, old idea of honeycomb attached to unexpected objects. In Botha’s Shelter, South Africa, there is a petroglyph depicting honeycomb joined to the ribs of an eland, the largest antelope in South Africa. The eland was regarded as sacred by the San people and endowed with special magical-religious significance. The story goes that the demi-god Mantis raised a bull eland on honey and nutritious brood comb. This eland was endowed with great powers and smelt strongly of honey (the source of its strength).
With these twelve objects the artists have gently, but deliberately, tested the adaptability of bees as animal architects. Bees build comb and make nests in many places: wall and tree cavities; compost bins; service pits in footpaths; and on baguettes, pretzels and dinner rolls.
Although the shape of the breads was known, the comb the bees made was always a surprise. This is a true collaboration with the bees as, although the artists directed where comb could be built, the outcome (the shape, size, colour and number of comb segments) was improvised by the bees, in the hive.
Bread + Honey is a collaboration between Italian artist Giorgia Mocilnik ; the Honeyfingers Creative Projects Studio (a beekeeper from Melbourne, Australia); and the beautiful European honeybee, Apis mellifera.