Petrus and The Modern Spirit Is Vivisective by Francesca Catastini

Saturday 13 May 2023
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
OstLicht. Gallery for Photography, W16, West Wing

Petrus reflects on a certain rhetoric of masculinity in Western culture. It is about the human drive to define ourselves and the world through a definite form. Form is never stable though. It is the ever-changing result of a neverending tension between forces pushing from within and pressures coming from without. Through a cynical, tender, and arbitrary analysis of what probably cannot be sliced and diced Francesca Catastini plays with archetypes and images considering the way they sculpt ourselves and shape our views. Looking for subtle discrepancies her images go beyond their figurative meaning in order to activate new analogies and connotations. Francesca Catastini (b. 1982) is an Italian artist based in Tuscany. She holds an MA in Photography and Visual Design from the New Academy for Fine Arts in Milan. Her work has been exhibited internationally.

Francesca Catastini’s work will be on display at OstLicht. Gallery for Photography during Photo London.


The Modern Spirit Is Vivisective ventures into the history of the study of anatomy taking anatomical theatres as its starting point. These places belong now to the realm of foucauldian heterotopias. They reach beyond their physical and temporal present. Delving into architecture both of the body and of the scene of inquiry the work is a reflection on the role of vision in the graph of power and knowledge in Western culture. The former scopic geometry of these ancient anatomy halls responded to the logic of spectacle. The public was essential, as a collective
witness of the mysteries of the human body. Gaze acquired a specific status framing a sort of unified perception where both professionals and lay audiences shared the same view.

Dissection followed the analytical principle according to which the comprehension of an object goes through its decomposition into segments. The physical dismembering of the body led to a mental recomposition of it.