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Containers

Series of glass sculptures containing "museophages" insects
2020
Production: CIRVA, Marseille

Containers are industrially manufactured glasses with their base and stem cut off i.e. just the bowl. This intervention aims to use the bowl, thereby discretely transforming it. Béatrice Balcou has inserted mounted insects into these glasses known as "museophages" or "heritage insects". They were collected by Fabien Fohrer, an entomologist who studies their behaviour at the Centre Interregional de Conservation et de Restauration pour le Patrimoine (CICRP) laboratories in Marseille. These insects live in museums and consume artworks: they dig tunnels through painting frames or wooden sculptures, they consume the animal adhesives used in certain works and constitute a population that hungers for culture. If you are what you eat, then these are the true aesthetes or, alternately, walking encyclopaedias. The mounted insects are held in bell jars, sealed with thin, blown glass lenses. Balcou provides mausolea for the unwanted insects, disrupting our relationship with them.