New York City-based artist Juan Fontanive has created a series of flip books that mimic the fluttering movement of butterflies and flying birds. The mechanized books are like a Natural History Museum exhibit come to life. Instead of pinning the insects up behind glass, where their movement is forever frozen, the flip books capture the spectacular experience of butterflies in flight. 

Fontanive’s flip books are part of an exhibition called “Films Without Light,” and will be on display at the Danese/Corey Gallery in New York City through February 6. Of Fontanive’s work, the Danese/Corey gallery writes, “Set in motion to the beat of the wings of birds, butterflies, and moths, the dancing, flitting images mimic the gentle hum and movement of these closely observed, ephemeral creatures as if in continual ‘flight.’”

Says Fontanive, “There is no motion in the moving image, it is made of still frames shown in succession. So motion as a medium in animation does not actually exist. This is what interests me: the illusion. Often, my subject matter has to do with exposing this deception, while at the same time retaining the illusion intact.”

Check out a few examples of his work below:

[h/t: Design Milk]

Header and banner images courtesy of Danese Corey, Vimeo.