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Queen bees from Cornwall give Pierre Huyghe’s Malta sculpture a buzz

Pierre Huyghe, Exomind (Deep Water), 2019 Pierre Huyghe studio

Visitors to Malta can ponder on a buzzy new installation created by the French artist Pierre Huyghe whose Exomind (Deep Water) piece is the latest work unveiled on the Mediterranean island as part of the Micas programme (Malta International Contemporary Art Space; until 31 January 2020). Huyghe’s striking sculpture, located in Buskett Gardens, comprises a crouching female figure fitted with a living beehive populated by a colony of busy Buckfast bees. The honeycombed head subsequently keeps changing and growing as the bees pollinate surrounding flowers, modifying Huyghe’s sculptural form. Setting up the work proved challenging, with the queen bees transported from Cornwall, explains beekeeper Ray Sciberras. “They were brought on Air Malta late August,” he says. “We started with Maltese bees, and their UK counterparts have now taken over.” The sculpture was installed at night when the bees are apparently not so nervy. Visitors to the garden will need to stand at a slight distance from the bee-saturated structure which was co-commissioned in partnership with Serpentine Galleries in London.