The buzz around The Godfrey Dean art gallery this week is a local artist’s honeycomb edition of a past exhibit.
In 2017, Kelly Litzenberger designed and built a Lego replica of a business he owned and operated from 1998 to 2004, Revolution Snow and Skate. The Lego building took 2,200 pieces, about forty hours to build, and was part of a larger exhibit that included Yorkton’s City Hall among other well-known city landmarks. The exhibit went on to do very well, receiving over 5000 signatures in the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery’s guest book.
In April of 2021, Litzenberg said he was approached by the director of the Godfrey Dean who was working in conjunction with the Regina Art Gallery.
Between Us, said Litzenberger, consists of “Multiple artists participating in a collaborative effort between artists and bees under the guidance of Canadian artist, Aganetha Dyck.”
“Dyck is best known for her work with honeybees, which began in 1989 when she rented beehives, and is described by her as a collaboration. Dyck places objects into beehives and allows insects to build honeycomb on the objects, sometimes over the course of years.” as per the biography section of AganethaDyck.ca.
Litzenberger said that he and the 12 other Saskatchewan artists worked with Dyck and local beekeepers in their respective areas to develop the projects.
“I worked with Sasha at Howland’s Honey,” he said.
“The bees at Howland’s were really active”, said Litzenberger, adding that he would coat certain parts of the piece with a thin layer of beeswax in the hopes that the bees would construct their combs on and around those specific parts. “I thought that I could control where the bees built, but that’s not the case.”
The Lego structure was placed inside of a beehive where the insects would develop their combs. Over time the bees enveloped the piece.
“It was in the hive for maybe two months, from early July to early to mid-September,” said Litzenberger, “I had to wait until the end of the season for the bees to extract the honey from the model.”
After the bees had removed the bulk of the honey, Litzenberger went to work cutting the model out of the hive. He said that even after the bees had done most of the extracting, some of their product remains.
“There is still honey in the model and it’s not going anywhere,” he added.
The project is an ongoing one.
“The project will take two years,” said Litzenberger, as some of the collaborations may not have been completed on their first interaction with the bees and would need to spend additional time in a hive to develop more thoroughly. This means returning to the beehives for the 2022 season. Litzenberg added that it's possible the Lego model will once again see the inside of a beehive in the coming season, or the potential of an entirely new model receiving the bee treatment.
In the case of the latter, “I have no idea what's next,” he said.
The Between Us preview of ‘LEGO Revolution Skateboard Hive’ will be on display at The Godfrey Dean Art Gallery until the end of February with the group exhibition being held at the Art Gallery of Regina in 2023.