The Essence of Lightness

The Essence of Lightness

On October 24, 2018, Nello Petrucci, an Italian artist from Pompeii, presented another one of his mesmerizing artworks: The Essence of Lightness.

The piece, which was inspired by Petrucci’s life in Pompeii and background in the film industry, took up a full wall on the 45th floor of 3 World Trade Center. Surrounded by the panoramic views of New York City, Petrucci took over six months to complete the piece., even   relocating here to dedicate all of his creative focus and direction into manifesting his work.


The artwork, which more closely resembles an installation due to its unusual size and location, remains true to Petrucci’s fashion of creating collages using movie posters, brush strokes and several layering techniques.


Just as with his previous work, The Pompeii Collection, Petrucci used film, concert and ad posters as a base for The Essence of Lightness. He walked around New York City and tore down old and new posters. After completing the collection process, he began the intricate layering process. Two or more additional images or posters were added, followed by strokes of paint. As with The Pompeii Collection, Petrucci included some parts of Pompeii within his work through photos of the Pompeii paintings on the surface, fusing them with the layers of posters.


Yet, what is unique about The Essence of Lightness is the continuous motif of butterflies. If looked at from a distance, an observer might not notice that there are butterflies spread out from the beginning to the end of the painting. However, once an observer gets closer, they will realize that the butterflies are flying through the painting, representing time.


According to Petrucci, the beginning of the artwork represents the past. It represents the history of Pompeii and various thoughts and experiences that we, as human beings, lost sight of. The middle of the painting represents the present. It is everything that we are experiencing at the moment, whether it is delight or worry,  we are living in the moment. The butterflies get higher and spread wider as you approach the end of the painting. The end represents our hopes and dreams for the future. If the observer steps back and takes a look at the overall piece, it is reminiscent of the course of life and everything we have experienced, are going through and shall expect.


Overall, The Essence of Lightness was an innovative way to represent such an intense and magical piece. Surrounded by the night skyline of New York City, it becomes almost surreal and yet Petrucci managed to conquer it all and spill it on canvas.   


The Essence of Lightness is not available to the public at the moment, but here is a short clip about the making of the fascinating installation.

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