Beuys, Joseph - The Beehive as a symbol of the ideal society
Type of Spiritual Experience
In order to understand the sculpture one has to realise the tripod is a key part and it represents the three worlds.
A description of the experience
Beuys, Joseph – The Beehive as a symbol of the ideal society
The Artistic Alchemy of Joseph Beuys – Dr David Adams
Beuys once spoke of the bee cult as an ... allusion to socialism as practiced in the big watch- making cooperatives of the Republic of the Bees at La Chaux-de-Fonds. There you can still see many sculptures of bees on the walls and foundations, as symbols of socialism. This does not mean mechanistic state socialism, but a socialist organism in which all parts function as in a living body. In physiological terms this is not hierarchical: the queen bee's place lies between head and heart, and the drones become the cells which are constantly renewed. The whole builds a unity which has to function perfectly, but in a humane warm way through principles of cooperation and brotherhood.
Bakunin, Marx, and Maeterlinck had all drawn similar analogies. Yet Beuys was clear that a colony of bees differs significantly from human society because it is not composed of independent individuals.
"The bee is one cell in the whole organism, just like a skin cell or a muscle cell or a blood cell. The best analogy is with the blood cells that swarm through the whole body…..Seen that way, my body is also a perfectly functioning state."
Thus, Beuys championed Steiner's ideal of a social organism that would be threefold in structure like the human being.