The Beginning or The End

Hubert Duprat
Aquatic caddis fly larva with case, gold, pearls, precious stones
2/3 cm, 1980–1996

duprat-insect larve


In his works Duprats often borrows shapes and materials from the plant and animal kingdoms, and combines them with a pseudo-scientific frame.

In earlier works, as a kind of nature’s own ready-mades, he has for example let water-living larvae of dragonflies (genus Trichoptera) produce sculptures for him. The artist has disassembled the tubular shell of the larva and placed the ”nude” creature in an aquarium where there are grains of gold, pearls and chips of precious stones. From this material the larva has then built itself a new shell. The process shows in what way the insect is capable of adjusting to new circumstances and materials, and the strength of its instinctive behaviour, but also poses questions about man’s view of art, about what is manufactured and what is ”naturally” created.

The work ”A la fois, la racine et le fruit” (At the same time, the root and the fruit) from 1997–98 is a sculpture with a peculiar shape, a branch from a tree adorned with small polished tablets of bone in subdued mosaic.