Pierre Huyghe Untilled (Liegender Frauenakt) 2012

  • Not on view

Untilled (Liegender Frauenakt) is a sculptural collaboration between human and insect. Exploring humanity’s ancient and symbiotic relationship with bees, the work marries a concrete sculpture of a liegender Frauenakt (reclining female nude) with a self-generating natural system—a living beehive—that takes the place of the sculpture’s head. Untilled makes sly reference to the notion of the “hive mentality” or collective thought process, but it also offers a moving example of human and animal cooperation. Buzzing and mutating according to the life cycle of the bee colony, Untilled reimagines the notion of sculpture, transforming it from an inanimate object to be seen into a living organism to be experienced.

Since the early 1990s, Huyghe has been building a body of videos, sculpture, installations, and activities that playfully and poetically investigate the physical and temporal experience of living beings, both human and animal—from bees to dogs to hermit crabs. Recreating natural systems, Huyghe both sculpts with nature and joins forces with it, embracing what he identifies as the “rhythms, automatisms . . . accidents and continuous transformations” of natural phenomena, ranging from cloud formations to animal habitats. In Huyghe’s work, natural processes are not metaphors for creativity; they are examples of it in its most perfect form.

Publication excerpt from From MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019).
Medium
Concrete with beehive structure, wax, and live bee colony
Dimensions
Figure 29 1/2 x 57 1/16 x 17 11/16" (75 x 145 x 45 cm), base 11 13/16 x 57 1/16 x 21 5/8" (30 x 145 x 55 cm), beehive dimensions variable
Credit
Committee on Painting and Sculpture Funds
Object number
238.2015.a-b
Department
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos.

If you notice an error, please contact us at digital@moma.org.

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.