In Mimesis, Nunzio Paci takes the typically clinical study of human and animal anatomy, removes it from coldly laid out textbooks and neatly-labeled diagrams and reintroduces discomfort, imbuing it with context surpassing the lived experience of the once living and breathing human being. Exposing the mechanisms that operate us, muscle fibers, straining ligaments, and sturdy bones, it is a fresh reminder of life’s perpetual struggle—an ongoing product of billions of years of generation and regeneration.
Before coming to the Philippines, Nunzio already had the seed of an idea planted in his head. In his mind he imagined the country to be of a thriving and lush nature, and he was not disappointed. His paintings’ themes of rebirth and regeneration found vigor anew in the vibrancy of Metro Manila—its cities, its nature, and its people. As a culmination of his three-month stay, Nunzio presents a solo exhibition entitled Mimesis. An Ancient Greek word that means “to imitate”, the concept of mimesis has nagged thinkers the world over, from Plato and Aristotle to Sigmund Freud and Jacques Derrida. In this new series of works, Nunzio focuses on evolutionary mimicry—a phenomenon where creatures seem to copy another’s physical traits, as in the case of stick insects, katydids, and many butterflies and moths. It is “the fight that life and nature apply to keep on perpetuating through generations,” as Nunzio says. The need to visualize this concept brought about the cleaner, brighter canvases of Mimesis, heavily dominated by Philippine flora painted in light pastel colors previously unknown to his oeuvre.
Nunzio takes the concept of mimicry and gives it a broader meaning; fauna and flora not only copy one another, they enmesh themselves in each other’s existence, forming a cohesive organism that exudes life within the confines of Nunzio’s canvas. If evolutionary mimicry is a defense against predators, the ultimate mimicry of one entirely becoming another is a defense against the totality of the outside world, an attempt to disappear into the other so fully as to render oneself invisible; to enter, in his words, “a refuge where boundaries cannot be crossed”.
From Facing Mortality Barefaced: Italian Artist Nunzio Paci Unites Man with Nature By Kara de Guzman