In a very unique collaboration between man and nature, this exhibition as a part of the Venice Biennale will no doubt impress and amaze you. French artist Hubert Duprat has come up with an interesting and yes, controversial, idea which not only produces a dazzling product and art object, but also comments on the relationship between humans and nature, worker and manager, curator and artist. He has been invited to exhibit his work as a part of the group show Slip Of The Tongue, which addresses friendships, relationships between artists, and the idea
that the activity of the artist is aimed at the preservation and afterlife of objects rather than of their interpretation. (Source)
The art project of Duprat and the Caddis Flies is a perfect example of those themes. He has taken these insects, known for their collecting habits (they naturally collect bits of wood, sand and stones from their environment and build a cocoon around them to fend off any predators) and has instead replaced them with bits of precious and semi-precious stones – rubies, pearls, opals, sapphires, coral, lapis lazuli and diamonds. After several weeks of building up these defensive layers, the insects crawl out of their shells, leaving behind a bejeweled shell.
Critics say Duprat’s practice is no different to acts of animal cruelty, and that he plays no part in making the final product. Duprat even says himself:
……I am playing a bad trick on them… I feel as if I am exploiting my workers….It is their work as much as it is mine. (Source)
And while it is true the Caddis Fly does all of the physical work itself – it’s excreted silk thread is what joins the pieces together – Duprat has applied his imagination and experimentation to turn something quite mundane into something extraordinary. He has made visible what would normally remain unseen, and that is truly an art form. (Via Design Boom)