Fantasy of a Monster Devouring a Fascist

Fantasy of a Monster Devouring a Fascist represents a scene in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s book Petrolio, in which a young Sicilian fascist Carmelo becomes devoured by a chthonic deity Nergal.

Fantasy of A Monster Devouring A Fascist. 2021, mixed media, 50 x 50 cm

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s posthumously published novel Petrolio (1992) tells the story of a man who turns into two men (Carlo 1 & Carlo 2), who in turn, as the story progresses, become something like a woman (qualcosa come una donna). The work begins with the non-alphabets “…………………….”, and the footnote tells a reader that the work does not have any beginning. Petrolio is intended to be a critical edition, on the basis of given fragments the reader must imagine the original work. There are several versions of the plot itself and they are contradictory.

Carlo 2, who became a woman in one plot version, falls in love with the young Sicilian fascist Carmelo, who in the other plot version ends up being swallowed by a chthonic monster. One of Carlos works in the oil industry, and has to travel to Iraq, the territory of ancient Babylonia, for his work. In this way, it was natural to describe the chthonic monster as Nergal, the Babylonian god of underworld, plague, war, and hunting. Nergal is often portrayed as a winged lion or figure hanging a man from one foot head down.