H15 × W30 × D15
1995 (30 days)
This is an old story told for a thousand years. In order to capture in all its complexity the ecology of a praying mantis, I carefully raised a praying mantis for two months an during my fascination observations, discovered that the aphorism, “the praying mantis intent on catching the cicada is oblivious to the titmouse waiting behind” which really serves as a fantastic cautionary fable regarding the laws of Nature. That tiny, weak, praying mantis is a cruel and fierce a creature as a tiger. With its prey in sight, it holds its two scythes high in readiness. It is that intent, reading with one slice to snatch its own object. It could in an instant be aware of any enemy within range of its compound eyes, but since it is much too intently watching the prey in front of it, it overlooks the threat behind it. This is an oversight that people often make. The artist has uses this insect’s temperament to serve as a reminder that in such verisimilitude one can spot cruelty, and that in such cruelty one can exclaim that the beauty of allegorical art.
What can be most appreciated about this work which depicts a Chinese aphorism is that the veins on the wings of the female praying mantis are accurate from above and below. Her two thin antennae are sensitively probing the actions of the cicada; and the thin to the point of transparency wings of the cicada similarly surprise one with the ductility of gold and silver that allows such precision and minute detail. The praying mantis is patient and will not suddenly lunge at her prey. Instead, she keeps considerable distance to observe the cicada in front of her, while the cicada keeps its distance from the mantis to protect itself. This creates utterly fascinating interaction between the one in front and the one behind, and the distance between them comprises a limitless imaginative space leading the observer to ask, so what is the final result? The creator has allowed the observer to write his or her own script!
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