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Nest


Concrete, glass fiber, steel
2023

It was a hot June morning. The dazzling summer sun, rising high above the aspen, blazed in full force. Dogs, goats, geese, ducks and chickens huddled in the shade. I was eight or nine years old at the time. I sat in my father's gray-green Passat and pretended to be driving, imagining myself speeding down winding roads, away from boredom. The adults were preparing to spin the honey.

Honeycombs had to be made on that particular day, because the weather was supposed to change later and rain was forecast for the next few weeks. There were maybe a dozen beehives in the garden, but not all of them were inhabited by bees - there were only six or seven of them, others were empty or occupied by wasps. Each hive had its own character - some families were calmer, others more aggressive, more often rising in a swarm and leaving to look for other homes. Some bees brought more honey, others less, and others liked to get tangled in the hair. One family of bees was particularly angry and stung anyone who approached the hive recklessly. Their hive was a similar color to my father's passat - grayish green, maybe a little lighter. It was said that invasive bees live in that hive and that they came from the Caucasus. Although I cannot say now who and when it was established, but that fact was enough to explain their aggressiveness. All evil comes from the east.

Povilas had a terrible hangover that day, so he walked around the yard speechless, irritated and angry, like a grenade with its ring removed. For some reason, he decided to start collecting honey from that gray-green hive. After smoking half a pack of Wall Street cigarettes and furious that he didn't have anything to lighten his mood, Povilas threw a black beekeeper's robe over his shoulders, put on a fishnet hat, and opened the lid of the beehive mumbling. After smoking a smoker for a while, he nervously began to peel the frames of the honeycombs outside. The bees reacted instantly - neither the smoke of a rotten alder nor fanning with a goose wing helped. A black rumbling cloud rose above the garden. I barely managed to catch what was happening and run out of the car through the open windows - to the shed. Soon others came running. We sat here until late in the evening, until it started to rain. Through the windows, we desperately watched the attack of the winged killers - the little Pearl Harbor. The dogs ran into the woods (one even jumped over the fence of the human-sized aviary), the goats pulled poles out of the ground and followed the dogs with jingling chains. Most of the birds did not survive. I saw a goose convulsing and trying to save itself by running towards the pond. Unfortunately, he did not achieve his goal. His delicate body seemed to be instantly covered in black fur—the bodies of stinging bees. I remember crying then. I was angry and sad that I couldn't do anything to help.

...

The sculpture "Nest" is inspired by this childhood memory. After this incident, a fear of insects appeared somewhere in the recesses of consciousness. But it is not about the individual bees, wasps or hornets, but rather what their swarm (nest) can do. Every time I see a paper bubble sculpted by wasps, I hold my breath. Thin-walled fiber concrete (the technology of which I have already tried before) is somewhat reminiscent of wasp paper in its color, texture and brittleness. Another animal that also uses concrete technology in its daily life is the swallow. By the way, beekeepers don't like swallows because they eat bees. Also wasps, flies and other insects. So the shape of the nest was inspired by architects living in nature.

In the sculpture, a concrete hollow lump hangs on the legs of a spider. Something unidentified and menacing standing on spider legs  is an archetypal horror image widely used in pop culture ("Stranger things", "Lord of the rings"). At the same time, I noticed that quite a few of my acquaintances have a fear of spiders. Arachnophobia is one of the most popular phobias. (I wonder if this fear arises empirically, or is it introduced by pop culture?) This way of constructing the sculpture brings a sense of dream into reality - a massive concrete object hanging on thin metal legs defies the known laws of physics. In order to achieve this impression, one has to solve various engineering challenges, which are an integral part of creativity in the field of sculpture.

1. Tauras Kensminas, Nest.jpg
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Photo: Stasys Mačiulskas

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