In 2018 for ‘The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT9), New Zealand photographer Anne Noble created a multi-part project at the heart of which is Conversatio: A cabinet of wonder 2018 (illustrated), a functioning beehive or ‘living photograph’. Bees can be observed entering the Gallery, before disappearing inside the cabinet and going about their normal activities; they are also visible when the cabinet was opened daily for 20 minutes.
Watch: Anne Noble introduces ‘Conversatio: A cabinet of wonder’
Watch: Anne Noble discusses the origins of ‘Conversatio: A cabinet of wonder’
Anne Noble ‘Museum: For a time when the bee no longer exists’
Museum: For a time when the bee no longer exists comprises portraits of bees that recall dust-covered artefacts from another time, together with a 3-D printed insect, resembling the ghost from the portraits. In addition, the luscious Bruissement photograms from the ‘UMBRA’ series of 2015–17 are enlargements of images capturing the light around the wings of dead bees — bees that died from pesticide poisoning — as the artist held them in her hands.
Noble’s works serve as a catalyst for discussion regarding our complex relationship with the bee. An insect revered historically in myth, religion and literature, as well as in present-day science and industrial research, her project stimulates awareness of this species whose essential global existence is threatened by pests, chemicals and disease.
Anne Noble ‘Museum: For a time when the bee no longer exists‘
Anne Noble ‘Dead Bee Portrait #2’ 2015-16
Anne Noble ‘Dead Bee Portrait #14’ 2015-16
APT9 has been assisted by our Founding Supporter Queensland Government and Principal Partner the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.
Anne Noble has been supported by Creative New Zealand.
Featured image: Anne Noble’s Conversatio: A cabinet of wonder 2018, installed at APT9, GOMA / Photographs, wooden cabinet, metal, glass, sound, scent, patterned perspex, colony of bees / 190 x 70 x 170cm / © Anne Noble / Courtesy: Anne Noble and Two Rooms, Auckland: Bartley + Company Art, Wellington and Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch / Supported by: Bee One Third, JackStone, Brisbane and Creative New Zealand.