The bust of Nefertiti commemorates one of the most famous figures of Ancient Egypt, who reined alongside the pharaoh Akenaten during a tumultuous religious upheaval. Inspired by the long-lasting legacy of this monumental sculpture, the Netherlands-based artist Tomáš Libertíny spent two years building a “new queen.” He began by constructing a 3D model of the original bust before introducing the assistance of 60,000 bees which brought the piece to life.
“The two-year-long process had two stages,” Libertíny explains to My Modern Met. “First, it was shown at Kunsthal in Rotterdam in the summer of 2019 as a live installation where visitors had the chance to observe the process of bees building the artwork at the museum.” During this time, the bee colony occupied the empty frame and added honeycomb and beeswax, slowly giving the sculpture shape. The following year, the bust was completed outdoors in Slovakia and exhibited as part of Libertíny's solo show Melancholia at Rademakers Gallery in Amsterdam.
“Natural beeswax is one of the most durable natural materials,” Libertíny continues. “This sculpture will last thousands of years easily if kept in a suitable environment. It is this duality or contradiction between fragile and enduring that I am thrilled about. It is like with people, sometimes sensitive hearts are the toughest of them all. I think that is a quite powerful message, especially when presented as one of the most iconic women in human history.”
Eternity is on view at the Rademakers Gallery until January 30, 2020. Scroll down to see more images of this incredible sculpture, and follow Libertíny on Instagram to keep up to date with his latest projects and exhibitions.