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 covers.
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.
Video and images from the wonderful Cabinet magazine. Click the link for a terrific article which gives more information about Hubert Duprat’s work with caddisfly larvae.