Elizabeth Presa, 2 details from Bee Village, 2014. Mixed media, dimensions variable

Elizabeth Presa

Lorne, Australia

2014 Lorne Sculpture Biennale

In Elizabeth Presa’s installations, active beehives function as small architectural objects that address dwelling-in and shelter. Her deeply process-oriented practice equates materials with political and spiritual value to re-imbue plaster, glass, wax, fabric, flour, paper, thread, bees, and snails with a significance either forgotten or overlooked in the mad rush to commodification. Since 2003, Presa has led the interdisciplinary Centre for Ideas at the University of Melbourne’s Victoria College of Art. She recently traveled to the Vatican to do some research—the Pope’s apiary is home to half a million bees. During her travels, her latest work, Bee Village, was scheduled for installation at the 2014 Lorne Sculpture Biennial, where the more than 30 small plaster hives cast from baskets were gathered to overlook the ocean. Presa’s instructions for the piece included living beehives to be set among the sculptures “to create a sort of frenetic energy.” Upon her return, she learned of a last-minute decision to exclude the live bees because they carried too much risk…see the entire review in the print version of December’s Sculpture magazine.

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