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

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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
01. January 2020 to 22. October 2020 Tue-Sun, public holidays 10am - 5pm
23. October 2020 to 09. April 2021 Tue-Sun, public holidays 10am - 6pm
10. April 2021 to 31. October 2021 Mon-Sun, public holidays 10am - 6pm
01. November 2021 to 31. December 2021 Tue-Sun, public holidays 10am - 6pm

Architecture tours
Until 04.10.2020 Tue–Sun 11 am (ger)
06.-22.10.2020 Tue–Sun 11, 2 pm, 3:30 pm (ger)
Guided Tours
From 25.10.2020 Sun and public holidays 11am (ger)
Times may vary. For specific dates, please visit our calendar.
Guided tours also on advance notice

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T: +43-316/714 957



26th October 2020
5th April 2021
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24th/25th December 2020
1st January 2021 10am - 1pm
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16th February 2021
24th/25th December 2021