Sunday, 24 March 2013

The bejeweled bugs of Hubert Duprat

The common caddisfly is a moth-like insect,
found near lakes, streams, ponds and
rivers, and often used as a bait for trout
fishermen. Caddisfly larvae are aquatic,
and spin protective silk cases which
incorporate bits of material from their
surroundings, such as gravel, twigs or small
pieces of shell.
In this remarkable work, simply entitled
Caddis, French artist Hubert Duprat
(b.1957) has collaborated with caddis
larvae by gently placing them in an
environment full of gold, pearls and semi-
precious stones. The caddis then spin
these materials into their casings to
produce breathtaking jewel-encrusted
At once a clever scientific experiment
(which Duprat actually patented in the
1980s) and imaginative artistic gesture,
Duprat teases out the sublimely beautiful
potential of a common and rather dull-
looking insect. Although he gives much of
the credit to the larvae, I think his creative
intervention into nature is the product of a
truly beautiful imagination.

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