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Butterfly, 2007

French artist Daniel Firman’s sculptural works explore movement and gesture centered around one’s sense of doing and taking action. Firman’s practice often incorporates dance intimated here in his splayed neon arc, Butterfly (2007), that gracefully unfolds against a wall. The work’s title alludes to a majestic butterfly whose biodiversity is under threat due to our planet’s extreme climatic changes. The chromatic variety of the neon lights signifies the diverse beauty of the Lepidoptera species. In literature and art, butterflies are often portrayed as the essence of nature and are associated with freedom, beauty, and peace. Firman’s decision to root the work to the ground rather than in flight further hints at our own loss should man’s insistence on negative technologies push the butterfly into extinction. Similarly, the fact that the artwork is dependent on technology to experience it acknowledges that the butterfly is a vital element within nature’s food chain that must be saved.

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