The Morpho helenor is a bright blue butterfly, abundant in tropical areas of Central and South America. Its wings are huge in relation to the size of its body and therefore it has a slow and elegant flight in which the pale blue upper wing surface alternates with the darker underside, creating a blinking effect that dazzles and is a defence against predatory birds.
The artist Daniel Steegmann Mangrané will set free an example of this species in the galleries of the Fundació Antoni Tàpies. These are butterflies that like to fly in open areas such as roads, rivers, or the edges of forests, avoiding the dense forest; therefore, they will be happy in the spacious galleries of the museum, where the temperature, which is between 22 and 24°C, is almost tropical. They are easy to feed with ripe, preferably sweet, fruit. The chrysalises will arrive a week prior to the hatching of an adult butterfly. Its size is around 10 centimetres, so it is likely that visitors will overlook it in an area of 4,696 m, although it will probably be close to the light. What is a living, tropical insect doing inside an exhibition gallery? The use of natural elements in exhibitions, from a coyote to a parrot or plant, has been explored in art since the 1960s.
Steegmann follows the path of Brazilian artists like Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark, who translated the synaesthesia of their country into contemporary art. One of the inescapable consequences of this action is the diversion of the visitor’s attention to an unexpected element: a silent disruption that will very easily go unnoticed.
Daniel Steegmann Mangrané was born in 1977 in Barcelona, Spain, and lives in Rio de Janeiro. Read more about his work on his website.
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