In my personal narrative Cased Caddisflies have held fascination for me since discovering their existence ‘pond-dipping’ on a school trip when I was 10. I wrote a detailed, illustrated report on these magnificent creatures, microscopic sculptors, intrigued by their unique superpower and their ability to exist not only within their environment but as part of it.
Turning over a rock in a clean, shallow, fast running stream you are likely to see squiggling in the sheen of water (the as yet to be cased caddisfly larvae) amongst small pellets of pebbles and organic matter, stuck fast to the stone.
There is astonishing beauty in the intricacy and fineness of this pixel-like pebbled creations. However, for me at least, existed a guilty, sinister desire to pull the cases off and itching desire to see what was inside. Regardless of my fascination with the exterior shell, I needed to reveal the interior.
Duprat’s work heightens this contrast between the exterior and interior. The reflectivity of the bright coloured precious golds and gems of his Trichoptères set up an uncomfortable Beauty and the Beast paradigm. They become miniature Hephaestus-es, hideous, deformed, metal-working magicians that create beauty which belies its creators.
In this way, Duprat work lies in parallel with my own research into eggs, their membranes, contents and shells. Playing upon the tensions that exist between the interior and exterior. Examining how it is to be inside or outside, empty or full, enrobed or naked.
Artist Hubert Duprat Collaborates with Caddisfly Larvae as They Build Aquatic Cocoons from Gold and Pearls