Untilled (Liegender Frauenakt) is a sculptural collaboration between human and insect. The work marries a concrete sculpture of a liegender Frauenakt (reclining female nude) with a self-generating natural system—a living beehive—that progressively covers the figure’s head. Untilled makes sly reference to the concepts of the “hive mentality,” or collective thought process, and self-organization. Mutating according to the life cycle of the bee colony and codependent on its environment, Untilled reimagines the notion of sculpture; rather than an inanimate object to be seen, it is a living organism to be experienced.
Since the early 1990s, Huyghe has created live situations, dynamic environments, objects, and films. His work investigates the physical and temporal experience of living beings, both human and animal—from bees to dogs to bacteria—and speculates on beings without life, such as those potentially present in evolving technologies. By letting “non-anthropocentric technics and behaviors” shape his work, Huyghe embraces what he identifies as “rhythms, automatisms . . . accidents and continuous changes.” For Huyghe, natural processes are not metaphors for creativity; they are examples of it in its most perfect form.
Publication excerpt from a text (adapted) that appears in MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019)