Metamorphosis of the Butterfly

U.S. Embassy The Hague Wassenaar / Netherlands / 2018

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Metamorphosis or transformation is the central theme of this work of art by Claudy Jongstra. The butterfly is the ultimate symbol of phenomenal transformation, as it breaks free from the grey chrysalis and unfolds its multicolored wings and morphs into an exquisite shape after several stages of development. For Native Americans, the butterfly has always been a symbol of change and balance, of transformation and freedom, of the state of sleep and dreaming and in general of good luck.


The ample use in this extended butterfly wing of bluish from the ancient Indigofera also refers directly to the seemingly magical power of this pigment plant to provide transformation, coloring the woolen yarn magically when it is pulled from the indigo bath. The drab brownish green instantly turns into a divine blue under the influence of the oxygen in the fresh air. Transformation is essential to human development and comes about if there is an openness to receive and willingness to let this natural dynamic process take place. With the madder, a root that takes at least five years to develop into a full red pigment.


The Metamorphosis of the Butterfly is also about time as a positive and valuing the labor of love, of time-consuming techniques like hand embroidering writing its poetry forward in times to come.


Both pigments indigo and madder were specifically chosen because they are treasures of the cultural heritage from the Dutch Golden Age when Rembrandt and Vermeer benefitted from these pigments in their paintings. By using them in contemporary art the pigment plants are preserved and embedded into modern times.


Looking at the lush colors and the multilayered sumptuous materials the passerby is invited to think about their history and their origins and dream away and let curiosity and imagination do its soothing work during a break in a days work.


The Metamorphosis of the Butterfly by Claudy Jongstra, 2018


Dimensions: 11.80 x 2.30 meters


Materials: Wool Drenthe Heath Sheep, merino wool, silk, mohair and flax


Pigments: Indigo, madder, cochineal and onion skin

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    Metamorphosis or transformation is the central theme of this work of art by Claudy Jongstra. The butterfly is the ultimate symbol of phenomenal transformation, as it breaks free from the grey chrysalis and unfolds its multicolored wings and morphs into an exquisite shape after several stages of development. For Native Americans, the butterfly has always been a symbol of change and balance, of transformation and freedom, of the state of sleep and dreaming and in general of good luck. The ample...

    Project details
    • Year 2018
    • Work started in 2018
    • Work finished in 2018
    • Client Commissioned by Art in Embassies, US Department of State, curators #VirginiaShore and #SarahTanguy
    • Contractor U.S. Embassy The Hague: Moore Ruble Yudell architects & planners
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Cemeteries and cemetery chapels / Government and institutional buildings / Embassies / Town Halls / multi-purpose civic centres / Churches / Post Offices / Airports / Railway Stations / Parking facilities / Neighbourhoods/settlements/residential parcelling / Restoration of old town centres / Adaptive reuse of industrial sites / Apartments / Single-family residence / Multi-family residence / Social Housing / Country houses/cottages / Office Buildings / Tower blocks/Skyscrapers / Business Centers / Corporate Headquarters / Banks / Offices/studios / Factories / Industrial facilities / Schools/Institutes / Colleges & Universities / Hospitals, private clinics / Nursing homes, rehabilitation centres / Multi-purpose Cultural Centres / Theatres / Museums / Concert Halls / Libraries / Associations/Foundations / Cinemas / Trade Fair Centres / Conference Centres / Pavilions / Exhibition Design / Shopping Malls / Showrooms/Shops / Fitness Centres / Hotel/Resorts / Wellness Facilities/Spas / Tourist Facilities / Bars/Cafés / Pubs/Wineries / Restaurants / Discos, Clubs / Interior Design / Custom Furniture / Lighting Design / Law Courts / Bus Stations / Student Halls of residence / Modular/Prefabricated housing / Leisure Centres / Art Galleries / Exhibitions /Installations / Private clubs/recreation centres / Yacht and vehicle design / Shrines and memorials / Mosques / Synagogues / Temples / Monasteries / Passenger Terminals / Service stations / Underground Stations / Acoustic Barriers / Lofts/Penthouses / Book shops / Media Libraries / Warehouses / Casinos / Day-care centres / Recovery/Restoration of Historic Buildings / Restoration of Works of Art / Restoration of façades / Structural Consolidation / Music schools/Music academies / Dance academies / Recovery of industrial buildings / Furniture design / Product design / self-production design / Refurbishment of apartments / Building Recovery and Renewal / Chalets, Mountains houses / Cable car stations
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