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Friday, November 08, 2013

Butterfly Rescue

There must be something about the fragility of butterflies - trust me, you don't really know until you've tried to rehydrate and spread one you've just found dead on the floor - that makes people want to protect and fix them.

A few days ago, during one of the many many hours I waste on Tumblr every week, I found the work of Lionel Sabatté. He calls this series Réparation de Papillon, and believe it or not, these tiny masterpieces are made out real butterfly wings and... well, nails and dead skin. Definitely not the materials I would choose to employ should I become a sculptor, but I can't deny that the effect is beyond stunning - like tiny litte wicked fairies.

But the reason I started this post with such a general claim was... well, Anne Ten Donkelaar had a similar idea, and upon finding the works above, I couldn't help but remember hers.

I had my own collection of damaged butterflies, so I decided to repair each one differently according to their needs. So in a way, I now have my own workplace with butterflies and give the butterflies a second life. I design body parts and give the insects new names, names that reveal something about their recovery. For example the The 'Blauw spinner' looked like it had died the moment it hatched from its cocoon. This lead me to me make the body from a twig wrapped with blue thread. A few threads are still hanging loose , almost as though the butterfly is slowly unwinding and breaking free from its cocoon.

I like how two people have taken such different approaches to a similar idea. Sabatté's work is organic and straight out of a fairytale - his butterflies look real, or very close to something you could find fluttering around your garden. Donkelaar's pieces, on the other hand, are very clean and conceptual - the fact that these butterflies have received human intervention is definitely not meant to be overlooked.

And really, I don't think I'll ever get over that wing made out of string and pins - it goes to prove that there's geometry (and order!) in nature, even though sometimes we forget.


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