Tomáš Libertíny

May 21, 2019 – June 30, 2019 This exhibition has ended
The bee colonies that have been living on the roof of the Kunsthal since the autumn of 2014 will be assigned an extra special task. They collaborate with Tomáš Libertíny on realising his newest work of art: ‘Eternity’.

Assisted by the queen bee, the artist will lure the bee colony inside a frame that he made and will subsequently allow the approximately 40,000 bees to work their magic. Layer by layer they will be filling in the contours of the construction with beeswax. Also depending on the weather and the bees’ zest for work, the end result will be a variation on the famous bust of Nefertiti, who was queen during the 18th Dynasty of Egypt.

Libertíny’s work is punctuated with symbolism and power of expression. Opposite the bust he will place his work Martyr (2017), a photograph of a dead honey bee implying themes such as sacrifice and predetermination. Together the artworks emphasise the continuing, never-ending life cycle of the honey bee colony.


On Sunday 12 May at 14:00 hrs, the artist Tomáš Libertíny will give an Artist Talk in the Kunsthal Auditorium about the realisation of his work ‘Eternity’. 


In his work Tomáš Libertíny (1979, Slovakia) explores the relationship between nature and technology. He was educated at the Technical University Košice in Slovakia, the University of Washington in Seattle and the Academy for Visual Art and Design in Bratislava. After winning the prestigious Huygens Scholarship, Libertíny followed the Design Academy Eindhoven Master’s programme where he was awarded the title Master of Fine Arts in 2006. His work ‘The Honeycomb Vase ‘Made by Bees’ (prototype) 2006’ was realised according to the same principle as his most recent work ‘Eternity’ and is now on show at the MoMa in New York.


Since 2014, two bee colonies have been living on the roof of the Kunsthal Rotterdam. Honey bees live in colonies dominated by female bees. They are all daughters of the queen and simultaneously the workers responsible for building the combs, looking after the spawn, keeping the hive clean and attending to the queen. These bees determine the right moment for the males (drones), new workers or new queens to be born. The colony is therefore ‘eternal’: the honey bees are in control of their own succession. 


The work Eternity is created and exhibited as part of May Month of Bees, a yearly recurring collaboration between Odin and Kunsthal Rotterdam emphasising the importance of bees. The sculpture is realised in a fair and sustainable way, in collaboration with beekeeper Jos Willems of Odin Beekeeping.

Artist Talk

Tomáš Libertíny visits with Odin imker Jos Willemse the bee colonies on the roof of the Kunsthal.
Tomáš Libertíny, ‘Eternity’, 2019, Kunsthal Rotterdam
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