Black Beercan Butterflies

Paul Villinski: Passage  Blanton Museum, Austin, Texas

Paul Villinski: Passage Blanton Museum, Austin, Texas

In keeping with the theme of transforming trash that I spoke about in yesterday’s post on El Anatsui, here is Paul Villinski’s Passage, currently on display at the Blanton Museum.

Each butterfly (1000 strong) is hand crafted from discarded beer cans, found on the streets of New York; many species  – all anatomically correct.  Seeming like carbon-copies, but each unique.

. . .metamorphosing littered beer cans into flocks of butterflies mirrors the act of transformation and rebirth that butterflies symbolize across all cultures.         P. Villinski

They swirl around a glider model spanning over 20 feet, made of old pallets and other discarded wood.

The joining of the two is ethereal and intriguing.  The juxtapositions are fresh.  The  usually delicate butterfly is now made of metal, aluminum. In nature, gossamer and light, but like metal, withstanding  journeys of a thousand miles.  Fragility’s strength.

The glider seems motionless, while the butterflies have a sense of purposeful movement.  Moving in stillness.

The fascination of flight – both manmade (symbolized in the glider) and natural (the butterflies). Is the plane carrying along the butterflies as they swirl around its skeleton? Or is it they, who are navigating, buoying the plane on the breeze of a thousand wings?


One Comment on “Black Beercan Butterflies”

  1. SigO says:

    I enjoyed this piece quite a bit. Continuing with my discovery of a need for personal space when interacting with art comparing Paul Villinski’s Passage with El Anatsui’s floor installation piece in the other room I was able to discover that I don’t like art on the floor (this one was hanging on the wall). Odd. I’ll keep thinking about that one, but found it peculiar to say the least.

    Then, getting past my idiosyncrasies I walked past it again and I had a vague thought that the metal butterflies were symbolically made out of the aluminum of the plane’s skin, like both the plane’s skeleton and the butterflies are part of the flight and acting as one. It seemed intelligent and witty. That’s my kind of art.


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