Beuys, Joseph - The Queen Bee Sculptures
Type of Spiritual Experience
The' rounded, sack-shaped cell' = Egg
The 'hexagonal cells of the beehive' = Earth
A description of the experience
Joseph Beuys - Queen Bee 3, 1952 - wood, wax
The Artistic Alchemy of Joseph Beuys – Dr David Adams
Aside from some more or less unformed beeswax artworks (such as Wax Sculpture of 1953), Beuys created three "queen bee" sculptures in 1947 and 1952 out of beeswax on a wooden base. The first two included small female figures as a sign for feminine spiritual fertility creativity, and openness to the future: "To express spiritual power and potential I tend to use the female figure," Beuys explained about this recurring theme in his work. As Steiner pointed out, only the queen bee develops in a rounded, sack-shaped cell rather than the regular hexagonal cells of the beehive, thus representing something of the warmer, less crystallized pole of the two extremes in Beuys's sculpture theory. Only Queen Bee III very closely resembled a bee, but even she was an image relating more to human, and even divine, potentials. Beuys also executed a number of queen bee drawings during the 1950s.
"These 'Queen Bees' all possess something that is very strongly organic," he related. "In the middle is a sort of heart point, from which the forms radiate and then encircle again. Actually it is a totally organic picture, including things that represent Christianity, heart, love, and. resignation. I attempted to portray this as directly organic, as a sort of psychological process. In this light the 'Queen Bees' are nothing more than moving crosses."
Beuys also depicted his Queen Bees as symbols of the love that surrenders itself for others, where the queen's beating wings can appear like an animated cross moving around its heart center. This recalls Steiner's emphasis in the first lecture on the relationship of the beehive to love.
Beuys closely followed Steiner's characterization of women as tending to be more readily open to spiritual matters than men. Beuys related the contrasting, one-sided masculine element to aggression and to over-intellectualized concentration on cold and abstract powers of the head.