AntHillArt: The Architecture of Ants Revealed

The “sculptures” of AntHillArt, who prefers to remain anonymous, are in fact castings made from anthills. With a remarkable aesthetic, they offer the possibility of appreciating nature’s beauty that is otherwise inaccessible to the naked eye and can be understood from an artistic point of view as well as a scientific one.

 Fire Ants (Solenopsis genus), #043, 10/19/2013, 17.9 lbs., Aluminium, 18x 12x 13

The artist makes castings of anthills by using melted aluminum to fill their tunnels and chambers. After waiting for the aluminum to cool, he digs around the anthill to loosen the earth. The result is an astonishing sculpture showing the complex detail of the anthill’s architecture. This is then mounted on a wooden stand, either right-side up or upside down depending upon the artist’s aesthetic judgment. Each one contains a rust-resistant steel plaque upon which information about the model and a unique casting number are inscribed.

Fire Ants (Solenopsis genus), #033, 8/10/2013, 20.8 lbs., Aluminium, 17 x13 x14

Carpenter Ants (Camponotus genus), #030, 6/14/2013, 2.3 lbs., Aluminium, 19x 16x 11

Originally from the southeast United States, the artist is also a civil engineer and expresses a lively interest in multiple scientific disciplines, especially biology. This is what inspired this work and caused him to start pouring aluminum as a hobby.

Fire Ants (Solenopsis genus), #009, 2/23/2013, 16.6 lbs., Aluminium, 13″x12″x13

Fire Ants (Solenopsis genus), #047, 12/20/2013, 8.8 lbs., Aluminium, 13x 8.5x 12.5

He mainly creates castings of fire ant colonies but has also discovered other types of ants on his property. The variation of the colony structure between different types of ants is particularly interesting in the eyes of the artist, who is always hoping to discover something new. He has notably been able to use his castings to observe that red ant colonies consist of a matrix of interconnected tunnels and chambers, whereas those of carpenter ants are usually formed around a single tunnel with a small number of chambers that branch off from it. He claims to have also found other even more fascinating structural variations in other types of ant colonies, which he hopes to make available on his site soon.

Fire Ants (Solenopsis genus), #006, 1/20/2013, 5.9 lbs., Aluminium, 10x 9x 11

 Carpenter Ants (Camponotus genus), #031, 6/14/2013, 2.3 lbs., Aluminum, 16.5 x4.5 x8

As far as the more controversial aspects of his artistic process, the artist asserts that he has limited himself to colonies on his land and has remained limited in his castings. The red ants present on his property (fire ants) are dangerous and reproduce uncontrollably because they have no natural predators. There are thus hundreds of colonies over a space of several acres. Most people who have a yard kill them with poison and other methods, and the artist claims that he has never heard anyone oppose the practice until he started posting his videos online, at which point certain people expressed lively opposition to the process of annihilating an ant colony to create these castings.


American scientists are in fact trying to reduce the number of these ants, which were introduced from South America and have a harmful effect on local species. Furthermore, small farmers frequently use boiling water to kill them. As far as other types of ants are concerned, the artist limits himself even further in his castings, though there are still a relatively high number on his property. Though his process is not beyond criticism, it is undeniable that these castings allow for the appreciation of beauty that would otherwise remain hidden underground. The artist aesthetically materializes the architectural sophistication that insects create and, through comparison, allows for the observation of each anthill’s specificity.

 Fire Ants (Solenopsis genus), #025, 5/31/2013, 10.7 lbs., Aluminium, 14.5x 10.5x 11

 Fire Ants (Solenopsis genus), #020, 5/18/2013, 4.25 lbs., Aluminum, 8.5″x5.5″x8

By thus accentuating the ants’ creations, the artist reveals to the viewer the aesthetic elements of the insects’ works that are otherwise considered harmful and are even exterminated. If his artistic.  http://www.anthillart.com/  
(translated byAnna Provitola)

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