His mouth raised up above his savage meal.
In a society largely based on notions of competition and empowerment, the ancient tribal practice of cannibalism might have disappeared men did not stop eating each other though. The artist Leonardo Petrucci meditates on the greedy and Machiavellic nature of contemporary men by studying the biological behaviours of praying mantis. This somehow elegant and graceful insects are famous for their cannibal mating ritual which consists in the female cannibalization of the male mate just after mating. This suggestive process leaded Petrucci‘s alchemic researches to the mantis’ occult meaning, conceiving series of higly symbolic works of art that subtly represent the cruel ambigutiy of humans’ relationships. His solo exhibition showcasing at the Roman gallery Operativa Arte Contemporanea hosts some real mantis that found their home upon a young laurel oak, a plant which is notably known for its magic powers, placed inside a suspended triangular vase that symbolize duplicity and equivalence of contraries. Sourrounded by gigantic pencil on canvas drawings of the insects’ anatomy, the living creatures eventually perform their sexual ritual, where the two great moments of Life and Death paradoxically blend into the reproductive practice. Despite the ostensible bad connotation of the process, it has in alchemy the positive meaning of transformation and rebirth. The dual nature of the praying mantis’ behaviour, extremely negative if related to men thus good form an esoteric point of view, constitutes the main focus of the exhibition, which uses the language of alchemy to express art’s power of transforming the status of general concepts.
That sinner wiped his lips upon the hair of the head that he had chewed on from behind.