A series of temporary installations jointly commissioned by St Albans Museums and University of Hertfordshire Galleries
Flutter was the final phase of a three year residency at the Museum of St Albans, where I worked alongside staff and volunteers to make their collections visible and accessible to the general public whilst the Museum was closed for redevelopment. Created to celebrate the opening of the new St Albans Museum + Gallery, each installation playfully engaged with the building’s internal spaces. They represented the Alexander Hopkins British Butterfly collection once owned by St Albans Museums, which was given to Maidstone Museum in 2000. I was fascinated by the loss of the collection and felt compelled to re-introduce the butterflies back into the building for the opening.
Flutter comprised three interconnected works; the first was located on the grand staircase. Coloured acrylic mirrors, placed in a regimented grid, recalled Alexander Hopkins’ technique of placing mirrors underneath his specimens in order to see their underside. Each mirror displayed the Latin name of a species in the collection. The second work echoed the various display mechanisms employed by entomologists to show off their specimens: pinned and arranged in ordered rows. Here the butterflies were abstracted using tiny glass beads; they shimmered like jewels as natural light flooded the space throughout the day. Light and reflection was also intrinsic to the final work, which comprised numerous butterflies, either individually or in groups, which appeared to have landed in unexpected places; briefly alighting in safe corners, before fluttering off again. Made from reflective metallic sequins strung with gold thread, each butterfly’s markings were represented in abstracted, pixilated form.