Art & History

The Butterfly Effect: Miss Bugs versus Damien Hirst takes off for landmark show

Taking flight in June at London’s Lawrence Alkin Gallery, The Butterfly Effect will showcase new original work by anonymous boy-girl duo Miss Bugs, alongside one of today’s most prolific contemporary artists, Damien Hirst.

Featuring the largest amount of new artwork by Miss Bugs since their last solo show in New York in 2013, The Butterfly Effect will include four of their large-scale original resin works and a range of Hirst’s butterfly print editions.

Exploring the universal theme of the butterfly as a motif, the exhibition questions the ownership of ideas and how we consume art and information.

Well-known for sampling the works of other artists in their own, Miss Bugs inspiration comes from the idea of cutting and pasting. “We like looking at connections in the art world and draw from new and old styles, from Basquiat to Picasso and from Tom Wasselman to Gary Hume. We establish these connections, showing how often artists can sit quite closely in styles while coming from different time periods.”

Elements of Hirst’s butterfly patterns can be seen in each of the four Miss Bugs pieces on show. The kaleidoscope pattern has been present in much of Miss Bugs work, yet the collaborative duo uses materials such as lego, magazine cut outs, stickers, surgical blades, pharmaceutical capsules and toy charms to build their intricate collages. Each element tells a story within the work.

Explaining the connection between their work and Damien Hirst’s Butterfly Psalms, Miss Bugs said: “A lot of our work explores ownership of ideas and Hirst is a master of lifting other people’s creations; in the case of the spin painting, for example, it had been done by the likes of Alfons Schilling before. The great thing about Hirst is that he can take something that has already been done, put his own stamp on it and make it iconic.”

The work of Miss Bugs has evolved considerably from when the pair started out in 2007. What began as quick cut and paste collages, is now a labour-intensive process of layering materials and objects, which are then coated and encapsulated in resin. The artist explains:

“We took things that were already iconic and made fast, new imagery, not being too precious about it. Our work has now moved on from that approach. What we do now, the process we follow, has almost become painstaking.”

Each Miss Bugs piece within the show took up to two months to produce, due to the more developed, labour-intensive process the pair now adopts. The artist added: “It’s a completely different working method. Our connection to the work has also changed. When you work on a piece for that long, when you spend so much time with it, you develop a closer relationship. The piece becomes more precious, and we become more attached to it.”

The Butterfly Effect runs from Thursday 8 June to Saturday 8 July at Lawrence Alkin Gallery, 42 New Compton Street London WC2H 8DA. Discover more at www.lawrencealkingallery.com.

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