A person dressed up as a butterfly

Pigment and wax on paper, vest, clothes rack, 2023.

A butterfly collection found at a flea market ended up as the artist’s material. The original collection was from the 1960s–1980s and has already been destroyed. The persons mentioned in the labels had the same last name – perhaps a father and a son collected butterflies together.

Harmaala says: “I collected butterflies for one summer when I was a kid. In the autumn, the collection fell on the floor and broke. My work process included interpreting personal myths through a butterfly. I wrote down my experiences and memories that fall somewhere between true and untrue. I rebuilt my childhood butterfly collection.”

The work includes photographs of the collection found at a flea market, butterflies made of paper and short texts. The installation includes butterfly wings attached to clothes, a butterfly net and preparation equipment. Visitors can try on the butterfly clothes when the artist is present at the gallery.

A guide for collectors. Installation, 2024.
A book about butterfly collecting, butterflies made of wax and paper, preparation tray for butterfly wings, poisoning container.

Installation part 2: Embroidered canvas, wax on paper, wood.

BUTTERFLY STORIES. Eight stories about butterflies in Finnish .
Pigment, wax, ink on paper. 33 x 34 cm, 2023.
“It is safe to do everyday things routinely according to the same schedule. Life is unpredictable and constantly changing. The smallest things can lead to big changes. Meteorologist Edward Lorenz speculated that if a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil, it may later cause a tornado in Texas.”

“I was fishing with my dad all night. Dad sang about a bird that gets to fly away. But man is a prisoner of the earth.
Dad said he had written a poem about a butterfly. Decades later, I find a piece of paper with something written in my dad’s handwriting, crossed out and erased.”

“Nightlife has different rules. You can dance, sing, be mysterious and more beautiful than during the day. In the evening, moths notice the light. They can’t stop dancing around the lantern. They burn their wings in a candle. Maybe I’m a butterfly, the singer sings”.

A broken collection.
Photo print mounted on dipondi, wooden frame, 40 x 50 cm, 2023.

A butterfly collection.
Photo print mounted on dipondi, wooden frame, 40 x 50 cm, 2023.

Paper butterflies.
Wasp nest, pigment, wax, paper, needles, wooden frame. 40 x 50 cm, 2023.

The audience could dress up in butterfly wings.