Sarah Bildstein

Der Bien


In cooperation with the Styrian Provincial Association for Bee-Keeping run by Maximilian Marek.


Location: On the roof of the Kunsthaus Graz

Der Bien. Characteristics vs. production-based society

The word Bien is a historically evolved term for the super-organism of the bee colony, which was formed by such individuals as Johannes Mehring, a pioneer of economic bee-keeping, and Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. Bien describes the functioning organism of a bee colony, which on account of those characteristics ascribed to it in the swarm such as diligence, cleanliness, orderliness and adaptation, has continually been drawn upon in the history of mankind as a metaphor and model for societies, though also as an image of the scary excessive-ego, of a superconscious global context. 


The artist Sarah Bildstein connects the characteristic of adaptiveness to one of her previous works, Assimilationknick, 2014. The form of this work contributed to the design of the new environment created for the bees to live in on the Kunsthaus roof. The wooden construction, covered with a light fabric, has developed into a canvas with a crease, with the help of which the construction acquires stability in the first place. Adapted to the place where it is erected, the Bien is also active overnight and glows in a dynamic succession of colours at nightfall.


Der Bien serves as protection against the wind and sun for two beehives with a population of around 35,000 bees, of which approx. 8,000 bees will discover a new living space and source of food some 600-800 m in radius, namely the banks of the River Mur and the Schlossberg, over a period of seven months. 


Sarah Bildstein sees living spaces as spaces for relationships that include and exclude, and repeatedly takes as a theme for her installations and picture objects questions concerning the ‘necessary’ demarcations between what is innate and what is other. The materials used are frequently ‘poor’ ones such as textiles, adhesive film or steel wool, which are used in manufacturing and production processes and to which she takes a pragmatic and personal approach.



The project can be viewed as part of the weekly general tours.

The honey by the bees, the Friendly Honey, can be bought at the Kunsthaus Shop.

Biography of Sarah Bildstein

 Expand Box

Born in Feldkirch in 1987

Since 2011 studies at the Academy of Fine Arts under Judith Huemer, extended artistic space, and Erwin Bohatsch, abstract painting.

2007 to 2012 Karl-Franzens Universität Graz, art history, diploma 2012

2007 to 2009 Ortweinschule Graz, masterclass painting

2006 to 2007 Karl-Franzens Universität, environmental system sciences – geography


2001 to 2006 Ortweinschule Graz, art and design, sculpture


Kunsthaus Graz

Lendkai 1
8020 Graz, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9200


Opening Hours
Tue-Sun, public holidays 10am - 5pm

Guided tours
Sun 2pm (EN), Sat 3:30pm (GER), Sun & public holidays 11am (GER), exceptions may apply. For specific dates, please visit our calendar. Guided tours also on advance notice.

Architecture Tour 
during exhibition free times only; German: Tue–Sat, 11am, 2pm, 3:30pm; Sun, public holidays: 11am, 3:30pm; English: Sun, 2pm or upon request

Mon-Thurs 9am-11pm
Fri-Sat 9am-1am
Sun 9am-8pm
T: +43-316/714 957


6th January 2020
13th April 2020
1st June 2020
26th October 2020

24th/25th December
1st January 2020 10am - 1pm
25th February 2020
24th/25th December 2020