1995, exhibition “Transparent Confinements” at Newhouse for Contemporary Arts; Plywood, aluminum, stretched nylon netting, wire; 4.5’x2’x2’

The mobile is dedicated to the Russian émigré writer V. Nabokov, whose passion for butterflies was well known. I wanted to suggest a parallel between the concepts of metamorphosis and mimicry. The writer once commented on the predicament of his exile and dramatic transformation that he was obliged to undergo as a linguistic outcast: “…now I know what a caterpillar must feel on the rack of metamorphosis, in the straitjacket of the pupa."

An émigré artist myself, I understand the necessity of cultural transformation as being inseparable from the émigré’s situation. On the other hand, each individual life can be seen in terms of a series of metamorphosis, or rather consecutive alterations.

Mimicry can result from similar pressures of an alien environment, forcing a person to adapt to his new surroundings, where a camouflage takes a form of protection.

In his writings Nabokov-author merged with Nabokov-lepidopterist, exhibiting a disturbing tendency to treat his heroes like his butterflies: strip, isolate and observe them under magnification, revealing his immense desire for control, in opposition to utterly uncontrollable world of his exile.