For the 2016 Emscherkunst exhibition Henrik Håkansson erected two cuboid edifices in a field behind the timber-frame farmhouse of the Emscherquellhof in Holzwickede. The two minimalist sculptures are based on an open, grid-shaped structure of six-by-six cubes reminiscent of Sol LeWitt’s iconic Concept art of the 1960s: the basic element of his three-dimensional work was the modular structure of the cube which, using radically simplified forms, he generated in numerous variations to create a largely skeletal edifice. Håkansson enlarged the skeleton of cubes to create an edge length of almost three-and-a-half metres and erected it in the middle of nature. In contrast to the purely conceptual idea, the Swedish artist gave his object a function: the white cubes serve as a refuge for insects. In 2016, in collaboration with local apiarists, eight hollow spaces in each structure were furnished with wooden honey bee hives and wild bee houses. On the surrounding 2,000-sq.m.-field local varieties of wild flowers were sewn to give the bees sufficient sustenance.
»The project formulates a vision for the inception of a new kind of society.«
A frequent theme of Håkansson’s artistic work is the precarious relationship between humanity and its environment, and how this is perceived. Humankind’s exploitation of nature has had fatal consequences: among others, over many years ecologists have been observing the gradual extinction of bees. Bees guarantee the preservation of our ecosystem and make an indispensable contribution to biodiversity and to our food production. In contrast to honey bees, wild bees are solitary and often dependent on certain flowers, or have special needs regarding nesting sites. Hence monocultures in agriculture, pesticides, as well as climate change pose a threat especially to wild bees, which unlike honey bees are not looked after and fed by beekeepers. With his colossal insect house in the middle of a flowering meadow Håkansson gives, as it were, visual expression to the ecological vision for the new Emscher valley: to restore species diversity in flora and fauna. One aspect of the conversion of the Emscher river is the creation of a sustainable space for experience and relaxation which allows for balanced cohabitation with nature.
From Dortmund Hauptbahnhof (main station) take the U47 to Dortmund Aplerbeck, and from there the 438 bus (towards Holzwickede Landskrone). Descend at the stop Holzwickede Emscherquelle. Then on foot for about 1 km to the Emscherquellhof.
Wildflower field, two open cube structures with 216 inner cubes, wooden honey bee hives (amount variable)
Dip-galvanized, powder-coated steel pipes (6 cm, white), wood
Dimensions wildflower field: 2000 m²
Dimensions steel cubes: 342 x 342 cm each
Dimensions bee hives: 50 x 50 cm each
The protection of insects is taken seriously at the Emscherquellhof.