Although the thought of insects beavering away to build their own fortress may give some people the creeps, the fact that it’s a purely natural process somewhat gives the art an untouched edge.
Inspired by insects and their survival instincts, artist Herbert Duprat has managed to make an ugly thing beautiful. The caddisfly larvae are common water-dwelling insects that can be found in rivers across the world. To protect their young bodies when growing, they build cocoons with whatever is available to them on the river bed, using their saliva as glue to secure their shelter. Hibernation takes place for a few weeks then ta da! A caddisfly emerges.
Prior to his discovery of the caddisfly, Duprat had already experimented with tiny insects and precious metals and stones such as gold, pearls and turquoise. Yet, unlike the larvae, these did not construct their own glittering armour.
Although the thought of insects beavering away to build their own fortress may give some people the creeps, the fact that it’s a purely natural process somewhat gives the art an untouched edge. The artist himself hasn’t created anything but simply supplied the materials and let the larvae get to work. Duprat even emphasises that the caddisfly should take just as much of the credit. It is undeniable that the finished cocoons have a unique beauty about them, but the real art is found in their assembly.
These delicate, golden tubes pose the question; Will Duprat top this unique idea? What other forms of biological architecture will he orchestrate? To see these sparkling creatures in all their glory, head to Duprat’s exhibition at the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania.