All images by the ICZ




Presented by The Institute of Critical Zoologists



Robert Zhao Renhui’s debut museum exhibition in the United States features two bodies of work that highlight the ubiquitous presence of flies and butterflies in our environment. Inspired by scientific methods of categorizing fly types, Zhao Renhui appropriates scientific tools to explore the boundaries, systems, and methods humans use to control fly populations, stemming from a dismissive attitude that belies their necessity. While the fly is seen as a nuisance, the Monarch Butterfly, on the other hand, is seen as a beautiful creature; it is a symbol of transformation. 

In Effects, suspended fly traps and lures reflect Zhao Renhui’s fascination with the countless devices and methodologies invented by humans to exterminate insects. His investigation of fly extermination methods continues with one hundred different fly pheromones applied to photographic panels in a warm yellow hue that references the color of commercially produced flytraps. In He Counts The Stars And Calls Them All By Name, a large photographic lexicon documenting 4,784 specimens from a single family of flies (the Hover fly), Zhao Renhui draws the viewer’s attention to their ubiquitous presence in our ecosystem despite their near invisibility in human consciousness. 

Zhao Renhui’s work exposes the overlooked contradictions, assumptions, and tensions inherent in our relationship with nature. Rendering the unseen visible, and the ignored critical, this multidisciplinary exhibition amplifies the intersections of insect and human, and natural and urbanized environments.



For more information on the exhibition, click here.


The Fruits of Creation; Japanese Beetles, Varroa Mites, Apple Maggots, Pecan Weevil, White Pine Weevil

450 insect traps from America

Dimensions Variable





Photographs for Insects, 2019

100 Archival Digital Print coated with insect pheromones, 21cm x 30cm each

1 Archival Digital Print, 111cm x 74cm


Up to 200 pheromones are available for farmers to lure, trap and detect pests that might potentially destroy their crops. In these 100 yellow panels, 100 different insect pheromones have been applied to the surface of the photographs. Insect traps are yellow because insects are drawn to this citrusy colour. It is believed yellow is a fly's favourite colour.


Almond moth

American hornet moth

Apple clearwing moth

Apple maggot

Army cutworm


Arthurs sunflower moth

Artichoke plume moth

Australian bollworm 

Banded sunflower moth 

Beet armyworm 

Black cutworm 

Black gum borer 

Blackheaded fireworm 

Blueberry leafroller 

Boll weevil 

Brown mamorated stink bug 

Cabbage looper 

Carob moth 

California red scale 

Cherry bark tortrix 

Cherry fruit worm 

Cigarette beetle 

Banded ash borer 

Lilac/Ash borer 

Oak borer 

Peachtree borer 

Rhododendron borer 

Clover cutworm 

Codling moth 

Cotton bollworm

Cotton leafworm

Cranberry girdler

Currant clearwing moth 

Diamondback moth 

Dingy cutworm 

Dogwood borer 

Douglas fir tussock moth 

Elm bark beetle

European corn borer: Iowa strain 

European corn borer: New York strain 

European grape berry moth/Grape moth 

European grape vine moth 

European leafroller 

European pine shoot borer 

Eyespotted bud moth 

Fall armyworm 

Fall armyworm 

False codling moth 


Fruittree leafroller

Fruittree tortrix 

Grape tortrix 

Grape root borer 

Gypsy moth 

Hickory shuckworm 

Honey bee 

Honeydew moth 

Indian meal moth/Raisin moth 

Lacanobia fruitworm 

Leek moth 

Lesser appleworm 

Lesser peachtree borer 

Light brown apple moth 

Macadamia borer 

Mediteranean fruit fly 

Mimosa webworm 

Nantucket pine tip moth 

Nun moth 

Obliquebanded leafroller

Obliquebanded leafroller 

Old world bollworm 

Olive fruit fly (non-gender) 

Olive fruit fly (spiroketal-male) 

Olive moth/Citrus flower moth 

Omnivorous leafroller 

Orange tortrix 

Oriental fruit moth 

Pale western cutworm 

Pananthrene asilipennis 

Peach twig borer 

Pear leafroller 

Pecan nut casebearer 

Pepper weevil 

Pink bollworm 

Pitch pine moth 

Plum fruit moth 

Potato moth 

Redbanded leafroller 

San Jose scale 

Sequoia pitch moth 

Southern armyworm 

Southwestern corn borer 

Southwestern pine tip moth 

Soybean looper 

Speckled green fruitworm 

Spodoptera sunia 

Spotted fireworm 

Spotted tentiform leafminer 

Spotted wing drosophila 

Spruce budworm 

Squash vine borer 

Strawberry crown moth 

Summerfruit tortrix 

Sunflower moth 

Threelined leafroller 

Tobacco cutworm 

Tobacco budworm 

Tomato pinworm 

Tufted apple bud moth 

Variegated cutworm 

Variegated leafroller 

Viburnum borer/Holly borer 

Viburnum crownborer 

Vine mealybug 

Western bean cutworm

Western poplar clearwing moth 

Blackberry clearing borer 

Clearwing chestnut borer 

Persimmon borer 

Raspberry clearwing borer 

Raspberry crown borer 

Western pine shoot borer 

Wheat head armyworm



Los Angeles, 2019

120 Glass Bottles, Ethyl Alcohol, Found Insects

Insects collected from the curator’s car, John Silvis, after a night drive at Newport Beach, LA.


He counts the stars and call them all by name

2.1m x 1.5m 
Chromogenic Color Print, face mounted on Plexiglass, Framed

A family portrait photograph of 4784 flies from a single family of flies. Each fly is meticulously labelled with information of its provenance and some of these flies mimics/pretends to be other insects like bees and wasps to cheat predators.



Lange’s Metalmark, Monarchs and the mysterious Christmas Island Swell Moths

Although these butterflies and moths looks almost the same with their bright orange wings, they are treated and viewed very differently because of the situations they find themselves in. 

The Lange’s Metalmark is an endangered butterfly that is endemic to California. The butterfly is only found in the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge. In 2013, only 78 individuals were counted by volunteers. The count involves volunteers walking in a straight line, adjacent to one another, and using a stick to flush the butterflies out of the weeds. In Antioch, more than two dozen species of plants and animals existed nowhere else in the world except in the sand dunes, federal biologists said. They began to disappear in the 19th century as development encroached from the south and workers began hauling away sand to manufacture bricks.

Only three species remain in the Dunes, - the Lange's metalmark, the Antioch dunes evening primrose and the Antioch wallflower - and all are on the federal endangered species list. The colorful Lange's metalmark has only 10 days of life to mate and lay eggs as it dodges an army of lip-smacking predators. In 1980, the Antioch dunes became a national wildlife refuge, the first in the United States specifically designated for the protection of an insect. Since then, the Lange's metalmark population has fluctuated but generally headed upward, from 154 in 1986 to 2,342 in 2000. The numbers plummeted for several years after that, and nobody is sure why. One problem is that once abundant native buckwheat, the metalmark caterpillar's favorite food, is being choked out by weeds. also appear to be at work. Biologists and volunteers spends many hours every week pulling weeds and counting the butterflies.

Monarchs arrive in California each winter. There, migrating western monarch butterflies nestle among the state’s coastal forests, traveling from as far away as Idaho and Utah only to return home in the spring. In 2019, there is an 86% drop in the number of migrating butterflies.  In 2017, scientists estimated that the monarch butterfly population in western North America had a 72 percent chance of becoming near extinct in 20 years. Monarchs require milkweed, a herbaceous plant that grows throughout the United States and Mexico, for breeding and migration. Acreage of milkweed, though, has been declining in recent years because of pesticide use and urban development. 

Every monsoon season on Christmas Island, thousands of Swell Moths crowd around the Berrya cordifolia tree. It is a spectacle that lasts only for a day or two. Little is known about this spectacle. Christmas Island is also home to other more charismatic species so little attention is paid to these moths. Every monsoon season, millions of red crabs swarm to the beach of the island, covering the island in a great red splash. These Swell Moths feed exclusively on the tree Berrya cordifolia. The tree and the moth are found only in Sri Lanka, India and Christmas Island. It is hard to say if the tree and the moths are native or introduced to Christmas Island.


To see more of the series Effect, click here.

Copyright 2019, Institute of Critical Zoologists