The imagery of the wolf has always been that of a fierce and aggressive beast, which in shamanic rituals played a totemic role and was imitated to propitiate the spirit.
Lupus Hominarius was born from the discovery of an old English tourist guidebook from 1883, which told the story of the werewolf of Nicastro, a town in the province of Catanzaro. Drawing from oral histories and according to Calabrian folklore, one could become a Werewolf as a result of curses, through infections, bites or pacts with the devil. Very often pagan rites were practised, especially during the Christmas season, on newborn babies, to prevent the appearance of disease-related signs. Each village had its own wolf, which had peculiarities that made it unique. To the legend, shared by many cities in Noemi’s region, there is to be added a variation related to the wedding night in which the bride dies at the hands of her werewolf husband, just as they are consummating the marriage. Very often, these stories were created and spread precisely to prevent women from going out alone, especially at night.
Lupus Hominarius offers a contemporary reading of myths related to Werewolves, recreating partial and ambiguous scenarios. Such figures are in fact the product of matter and history; they are modes of narrating the territory analogous to that employed by archaeologists.
DEATHFEST is an artistic investigation that seeks to challenge the traditional understanding of death and cemeteries in the contemporary West. This project challenges Western cultural conventions that view death as a solemn, twilight experience: instead of adhering to this traditional view, DEATHFEST seeks to re-imagine the place of death, particularly the cemetery, as a space of joy and celebration, while at the same time critiquing the spectacularization of death. Inside the cemetery in Girifalco, a small town in Calabria, Noemi inserted unusual elements such as balloons and disco lights. She also censored the faces of the deceased using plastic materials such as confetti, slime and glitter. The artist does not consider this project a provocation, but rather an invitation to reevaluate the way we perceive and interact with the space designated for the deceased.
Noemi Comi (Catanzaro, 1996) is an artist with solo and group exhibitions in Italy and abroad, including Somerset House (UK), PHest International Photography Festival (IT), MIA Photo Fair (IT), Noorderlicht Photo Festival (NL), and the Biennale della Fotografia Femminile (IT). Between 2022 and 2023 she won the Castelfiorentino Prize, the New Post Photography Award, and was a finalist in the Sony World Photography Awards. She is currently studying Photography at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan.