HIVE is a new artwork commissioned by BioMed Realty to interact with the landscape at the Babraham Research Campus.
HIVE is informed by the work that takes place across the Campus, where hundreds of researchers are developing bioscience enterprises. The artist, Tania Kovats, spent time on Campus, visiting labs and speaking with staff about their roles. What she found was a commonality of purpose from people working at the Babraham Research Campus, which is reflected in the collective efforts of bee colonies.
HIVE is curated and delivered by Contemporary Art Society Consultancy.
About the Artist
Tania Kovats (b. 1966) is a contemporary British artist, whose work takes in a range of media including drawing, sculpture and installation. She is interested in finding ways for art to communicate our relationship with nature and encouraging a sense of collective responsibility for our shared ecology.
Kovats was invited to develop this work for the Babraham landscape by a steering group that included representatives from the research communities at the campus, residents from the local parish and grounds and gardens staff on site.
Primarily a sculptor, in recent years Kovats’ work has responded to what she describes as ‘geologically explicit landscapes’ where the process of gradual transformations like erosion, compression and subsidence are evident. Travel is often central to her work, from Meadow (2007) – the transportation of a complete wildflower meadow by canal boat from Bath to London – to her 2008 journey around South America, exploring the landscape where Darwin first began to develop his evolutionary ideas. Kovats’ work actively addresses the natural world and, by extension, the changes that are occurring as the result of human activity.
The HIVE: From concept to complete
From her studio in Devon, Kovats cast more than 250 concrete hexagons that resemble the basalt formations of the Giant’s Causeway as well as the shapes crafted in beehives. The work is completed by a wildflower meadow and ribbon orchard of fruit trees, all of which work together to attract solitary bees with places to rest and feed throughout the growing calendar.
2021 is Year One for HIVE. The work will grow into its surroundings as its trees and meadow take root and as its visitors, whether bees or school children, research scientists or horticulturalists, watch over and care for it in the years to come.