How will we feed the growing population? That’s one of the main questions of our time. One of the hardest workers in agriculture is often forgotten in this debate: the bee. Yet it is responsible for approximately one third of our food. Without pollination, there would be a lot less fruit and vegetables, such as apples, pears, berries, peaches or asparagus. But the bee is under threat.
This project shows what we would miss if bees were to disappear. Without them, our food would be scarce, less colourful and less flavourful. For this purpose, still lifes from the Dutch Golden Age – a period of prosperity and abundance – were chosen. The works are typically characterised by their balanced composition, colour, surface distribution, and material expression. In this re-interpretation, elements that the bee was responsible for have been removed, resulting in carefully arranged compositions of the originals going out of balance. This could be seen to symbolise our ecosystem. It’s not the accessories that show the emptiness and impermanence, but the gaps in the composition.
‘Lost elements’ are presented in a bee-hive – The treasure of the Bee.
After two years of research and photography, Wildschut realised that the discourse on food production can be infinitely refined which often puts supposed advantages and disadvantages in a new light. For example, scaling-up can actually enhance animal welfare, and organic production is not always better for the environment. Often, an excessively one-sided approach to the subject of food is a barrier to real solutions. Food is simply too wide-ranging and complex a subject for one-liners or to be described in terms of black and white.