Painted beehive front panels are autochthonous part of Slovene cultural heritage. First ones were done by Slovene peasants in the 18th century and used to carry solely religious motifs, however, in the 19th century, beekeepers turned toward secular depictions, too. Through the last decade, many Slovene painters revive this, almost forgotten art by recreating old motifs in their own modern styles, part of this being a series of beehive front panel embroideries, done by Ercigoj art in cooperation with numerous Slovene artists.
A typical topsy-turvy World motif, it depicts the Hunter lying peacefully, and animals mourning his death, surrounding his bed. Vladimir Leben, famous for his animal-centric motifs, was a perfect fit for the story, and he managed to reimagine it into a unique piece of art.
About the artist
Vladimir Leben is drawing moral lessons from animals as examples. He is not inspired by their outer appearance of furs and feathers – of their exact anatomy in a way a naturalist would be. Instead, he portrays them as protagonists in stylized situations that have coded meaning. For this a viewer has to know background of a particular story, often a tragic one. His favourite subjects are underdogs – usually in the appearance of bears and dogs. They are presented as sentient beings, man’s interlocutors and points of identification. Being soft animals with innocent eyes, helps them to get their message across, and builds viewers emotions and empathy.
Born in 1971 in Celje. Studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. He is co-founder of the Museum of Too Modern Art – a unique movement in Slovenian art history. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions with Galapagos project as one of the most successful. He is also an awarded Illustrator and maker of animated films.
Innovation of layering
We layer multiple colours of threads and so create rich embroidery and colour texture that is impossible to create with classic one-layer embroidery technique. By layering, we develop colour transitions and shadowing, by which we create multiple-colour surfaces, similar to pointillism painting.
Smooth transitions and shading
By intertwining threads of endless colours and creating colour transitions, we can shape soft shadows, make one surface transition into another and mix colours into an endless multitude of hues. This way, we can also recreate motives from photographs and sophisticated art paintings which wouldn’t be possible with classic embroidery technique, using vector surfaces.
Sophisticated colour calibration
Usually in embroidery, 10 or 20, maybe 30 colours of threads are used. We use around 1,000 colour hues and if a colour still doesn’t match the desired one, we create it by layering and colour transitions. We have digitally scanned colours of all threads by using a spectrograph, so we can colour match any colour from an original material or from CMYK, RGB or Pantone colour schemes.