Like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, UK artist Anna Collette Hunt leads swarms of 10,000 ceramic insects in a traveling exhibition that first appeared several years ago in the towers of Wollaton Hall, England, home to a significant natural history collection. Hunt compares her marching throngs of beetles and butterflies to an awakening of sorts, the idea that her installations depict a reanimation of these long-dormant creatures framed behind glass or lost in drawers. From a statement about her process:
The exhibition is a result of Anna’s preoccupation with historic houses. After recurring visits to Wollaton Hall, she was repeatedly drawn to Entomology, particularly to the fragility of the aging beetles within the collection and by the possible stories that could be crafted from them. The body of work was made in several stages: Anna created the original models and their moulds, then a team of assistants made and glazed the individual elements. Some insects have a trickle of gold lustre, which references the traditional technique of presenting insects in museum collections by pinning each one to a board. This particular aspect has also fallen into the story, where the enchanted beetles bleed gold from their wounds.
The collection of ceramic insects has been installed in numerous places over the last five years, and Hunt also offers a “full scale infestation service” where tailor made swarms can be installed into almost any location. You can see more views of Stirring the Swarm on her website. (via Colossal Submissions)
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, apply for our annual grant, and get exclusive access to interviews, partner discounts, and event tickets.