bik van der pol: butterfly house at MACRO
original content
dec 07, 2010
bik van der pol: butterfly house at MACRO

bik van der pol: are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?
MACRO museum of contemporary art, rome
december 4th, 2010 to january 16th, 2011

‘are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?’ by bik van der pol
image courtesy of MACRO

designboom was in rome this past weekend for the official opening of the new permanent wing of the
MACRO museum of contemporary art
, designed by french architect odile decq and supported by roma capital,
department of cultural policies and communication, and the office for cultural assets.

coinciding with the opening was the presentation of the winning work of the enel contemporanea award 2010 
‘are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?’ by dutch art collective bik van deer pol
(liesbeth bik and jos van der pol). in its fourth edition, this year the project, produced by enel,
decided to host an ‘invitational competition’, in which seven artists from different countries were asked to submit
original works on the theme of energy, designed specifically for the new spaces of the MACRO.

front view
image courtesy of MACRO

bik van der pol’s chosen installation, which takes its name from an M.C. escher quotation, is a structure
freely based on the modern architectural icon, the farnsworth house by mies van der rohe built in 1951.
within, hundreds of colorful butterflies find a natural habitat, thanks to the scientific assistance of the centro butterflyarc
of professor enzo moretto. through the piece, the artists reflect on the relationship between man and nature
starting with butterflies, now understood to be among the species most sensitive to climate change,
so much so that they can be seen as a true indicator of environmental conditions. visitors are invited to enter the work,
complying with a maximum number of people at any one time, to protect the ideal micro climate for the butterflies.

image courtesy of MACRO

image courtesy of MACRO

front close-up
image courtesy of MACRO

aerial partial view
image © designboom

close-up detail
image © designboom

the works of bike van deer pol are systematically connected with the creation of new architectural forms,
often making use of temporary constructions that offer new spaces of public interaction. their projects
bear witness to reflection, with a lasting impact on the host communities. this long-term effect amplifies
the importance of the artistic interventions, turning them into a true resource that stimulates the collective
imagination and critical reflection in the int he society
– hou hanru, chair and director of exhibitions and public programs at the art institute in san francisco

detail through the internal net
image © designboom

the public is invited to enter the house and get involved in the art-piece
image © designboom

visitors are invited to enter the house. the glass walls allow full views of the greenhouse and its visitors inside.
here, nature becomes a spectacle inside the confinements of the museum walls.

detail of vegetation inside the house of butterflies
image © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom

one of the hundreds butterflies inside the house
image © designboom

detail of vegetation and butterflies
image © designboom

artists liesbeth bike and joss van deer pol of bik van der pol
image © designboom

dutch architects liesbeth bik and jos van der pol have been working collaboratively since 1995.
they explore specific venues as both sits of memory, knowledge production and communication / collaboration,
with different communities. ecological issues are also frequented themes.
their work is systematically related to the invention of new architectural forms, often resulting in
temporary constructions that provide new spaces for public interactions.
recent projects and exhibitions include: the istanbul biennale; ‘models for tomorrow’ at the european kunsthalle of cologne;
‘naked life’, MOCA, taipei to name a few.

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