Global Now / Week 8

A Butterfly Atmosphere

Global Issues in Design and Visuality in the 21st Century

Stephanie Kwan

Section: Cope

Global Now: Abstract

Headline: A Butterfly Atmosphere

Date: April 18, 2012

Source: The Guardian



Damien Hirst exhibited a room filled with a couple of white canvases with butterfly pupae attached to them. He called this work: In and Out of Love. Hirst created an emotional atmosphere that many people had conflicting feelings about. What’s beautiful is that the butterflies are capable of not only emotionally but physically touching the people. Once the viewer is in the room, the person is immersed with living and dying butterflies interacting with the viewers in a windowless room. Even though I am unable to visit the room myself, the idea of being in the atmosphere of the room gives me solid feelings I could relate to on the idea of love. It may or may not have been Hirst’s intention but I found that the way he has the butterflies fed on sugar water, fruit, and flowers corresponds with the overly sweetness of love. The way the butterflies are so delicate and fragile captures the way someone in love can hurt their significant other so easily. The sight of the butterflies and the idea of love looks so beautiful from the outside. I also feel that the saying: If you love them, then set them free, relates quite deeply to the artificial environment the butterflies are being trapped in. Henry Urbach states how, “In a compelling exhibition, this air, this atmosphere, is charged and vibrant, even vital. By contrast, in situations where one feels gallery fatigue or overload, the atmosphere may be too thin, lacking in life or the equivalent of oxygen.” I feel that Hirst has paradoxically captured both feelings in the atmosphere he created.


Global Issue: Butterfly Massacre

Primary Design Lens: Performance Art

Secondary Design Lens: Installation Design


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