marvel how the fishes live in the sea.
Why, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the
[Shakespeare – Pericles, Prince of Tyre (1608)]
In the world we are living, it is said, and broadly recognized, that development, that is, growing into a more mature or advanced state, implies a capitalist thinking where this advanced state can only be reached by a depredatory behavior. The idea of the powerful preying on the weak becomes now, in 2011, more palpable than ever.
However, this conduct is not a new behavior, it goes back to ancient times where it was said that grandibus exigui sunt pisces piscibus esca, a long-standing proverb which has been of great inspiration for this work and for the art of several painters throughout history. Flemish art is a good example, we can see how well Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Pieter van der Heyden captured this idea of social comportment on Netherlandish Proverbs (1559) and Big Fish Eat Little Fish (1557), respectively.
Ironically, even if we know this behavior exists, we like to think that we don't belong to the group of the predators, we are not the big ones, we will never be the sinners; those are the others, not us. But, what happens when WE are actually not only the ones that prey on others but also the ones that prey, daily, on ourselves? When it is us the ones that need (and have) to devour ourselves, everyday, to exist, to mature, to develop. When we have to eat the person we have been years ago, yesterday, even that little person we have once dreamt we would be; keeping that person in our stomach for some time, digesting it, making it part of us, and, of course, defecating its faults, its waste and tons of memories.
Then, it is obviously clear that it is in this self-predatory action where development lies.