Rebecca Horn »Bee's Planetary Map« 1998.
Bee's Planetary Map, 1998.
Installation: 15 straw baskets, wire, motors, broken mirror disk, shattered mirror glass, metal rods, wooden stick, rock, sound, lights. h: 168 x w: 384 x d: 228 in / h: 426.7 x w: 975.4 x d: 579.1 cm Courtesy: Marian Goodman Gallery.
Sixteen inverted straw baskets, looking for all the world like beehives, were suspended from the ceiling at various heights. Inside each basket was a lightbulb, casting pools of light on the floor. On the floor beneath each basket was a circular glass mirror which now and then swiveled, catching the light and reflecting it in constantly moving circles and oblongs on the walls and ceiling. Throughout the room you could hear a recording of the insistent buzzing of a swarm of bees.
Topping it all off, every few minutes a small rock attached to a cable fell from the ceiling to hit a cracked mirror on the floor, around which were strewn pieces of broken glass. This repetitive, destructive act was disturbing but also raw and cathartic. On one wall could be found a poem by Horn, providing an excellent textual counterpoint: «The bees have lost their equilibrium / They swarm in dense clouds high above / Their luminous basket hives are deserted / One of their centres is being destroyed forever anew....»
At their best (and this installation was a good example), Horn's works are dramatic and theatrical but also poetically engaging, in a way that gets to you on numerous levels simultaneously. Here, the notion of bees loosed from their hives to permanently wander unseen evoked ideas of dislocation, rootlessness and nomadism--perhaps a subtle reference to current crises in places like Kosovo. At the same time the installation had a dreamlike, mythic quality suggestive of primal fears and longings: the desire for safety and order, or the desire for unencumbered release.