Michelin Star Roadkill | This Artist Wants to Eat Your Pets

If you’ve lost a beloved pet recently, this man has probably eaten it - sorry

by Clem Fiell
Mar 13 2019, 5:11pm

Russian artist Petr Davydtchenko is preparing for the apocalypse – living in an underground burrow of his own making, and surviving off roadkill found on remote mountain roads. He spends his days cycling the motorways of Central Italy, hungrily scouring the tarmac for his next meal. After picking the bones clean, he often uses the tyre-marked remains for soap and blankets.

Petr was inspired to go off-grid by the 2008 financial crash, and sees his grim lifestyle as a working prototype for 21st century living – subsisting on modernity’s collateral damage. His appetite has become so notorious that locals drop him GPS pins when they encounter a carcass. Owners of missing pets have even been known to knock on his door – curious to know if their pampered pooch has wound up in Petr’s stomach or ‘archive freezer’. It’s clear that Petr Davydtchenko hasn’t heard of the 5 second rule.

"I cook small kittens over an open fire, and it’s very tasty!"

This Saturday, Petr will be presenting his life as an artwork: ‘Millennium Worm’ – a gallery-based archive of objects, images, videos and skins that reflect his unusual appetite. Curated by the a/political group at Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary, it offers a darkly compelling glimpse of life after everything collapses.

Petr Davydtchenko skinning a carcass. Photo: Courtesy of Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary

What are you trying to capture with your art?

I’ve always dreamt of collapse, ever since I was a child. I’ve been waiting for the apocalypse to roll across the sky. Nowadays we can’t escape the idea; we all have a little pocket apocalypse on us at all times.

I moved to Trevi [a few years ago] and dug a habitat for myself inside the Palazzo Lucarini. I created tunnels like a big fat caterpillar, where I’m guided by the law of reverse evolution. I am a predatory animal, and incredibly voracious. I can creep into your brain and eat it. There are so many new animals around this mountain. I’ve already found a crushed porcupine, and it was very tasty!

When I was in France, I ate most of the animals around Maubourguet. There are no cats left out there. In Italy, there are loads of cats, and other species I’d never tasted before. I have to say, it’s a very tasty region. I will eat everything around this mountain.

Petr's grisly archive freezer. Photo: Courtesy of Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary

When did you start eating roadkill?

In 2016, I became more aware of antibiotics. I realised the meat in supermarkets is full of hormones that animals release when they’re scared, just before they die in a slaughterhouse. The meat on the road is healthy, because they are free from antibiotics. The accident happens so suddenly that the creature doesn’t have time to feel fear. I regularly check my blood levels to monitor the effects of my diet. I’ve even surprised doctors.

Petr executing one of his animal skin artworks. Photo: Courtesy of Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary

Did a specific event trigger this change in world view?

It was a gift from nature. One day, I discovered a hare the size of a pig, just lying on the road. Its back was covered in cone-shaped growths and its bloodied muzzle revealed yellow front teeth.

I suddenly saw the road as a symbol of progress. When primitive forms stray within the white parallel lines – when they get in the way of progress – they get destroyed.

My existence depends on that act of destruction. I exist in parallel with modernity. I decided to go outside of the established system and not directly participate in capitalism. I lived two years without spending one Euro. I only ate roadkill. It’s been a very tasty adventure.

A child delving into Petr's archive freezer. Photo: Courtesy of Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary

Why are you encouraging others to take on this alternative way of life?

People who live in cities like London are so ugly. They have bad skin, they’re covered in spots and are overweight. It’s all because of their unhealthy supermarket diets. They are born in stone coffins; they live and die in them. Once they die, they’re put in wooden coffins, so the earth can swallow them up. Is it worth living to be transferred from one coffin to another?

Meanwhile, I cook small kittens over an open fire, and it’s very tasty! I once found a donkey that took me a year to eat. The donkey is a very important animal in Christian iconography. That year, the saviour saved me.

Petr's living quarters. Photo: Courtesy of Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary

Has your life become an artwork in itself?

People think that, but it’s not for me to decide. I get invited to museums to exhibit my life, and thanks to that I can go and live in different places and eat everything I can find. I’m a caterpillar. I hope to produce more exhibitions, mainly so I can eat all the cats in those areas.

Note: Petr then wrote a poem to express his unique world view.

February screams / in my night with its / raw black pit... / Fate, shout / and don’t be silent, / do not clang the frozen frame. Bed creaks... / In this night / I do not want to steal. / Just kill / just kill / just kill / all clean! / Just press / on the trigger / and see roses of shots. / Then - run, / then - silence / in the bosom - and quickly...

Petr's art installation. Photo: Courtesy of Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary

Would you consider yourself ‘off the grid’?

I like road markings. The white stripes, and the grids of short and long cells. It reminds me of that experiment when humans tried to teach monkeys about creativity. They spent four years in the laboratory teaching monkeys how to draw. In the end, one monkey took pity on humanity and made a drawing. People who are superficially familiar with fecal matter believe that the content of the sewage system is a thick, impenetrable mass of excrement. It’s not like that at all. Excrement is only 20%. The rest is fluid.

Petr hopes to be a Michelin star chef soon. Photo: Courtesy of Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary

You are setting up a pop-up restaurant soon. What inspired this?

I became inspired when I saw the purple-red, steam-shrouded organs [of an animal] slide off the body into a pile of oil. They began to sink into it with a hiss. It was in that moment that I decided to feed small cats to people. I like combining badger ears with deer ears. Dog penis and testicles placed inside the ear of a donkey is such a delicious dish. Very tasty! Om-nom-nom.

A still from one of Petr's films.

What’s next for Petr Davydtchenko?

There can be no technocratic paradise on earth. In general, paradise is impossible. Earth is given to us as an island to overcome. And everyone chooses - what to overcome and how. My only dream now is to get three Michelin Stars. I decided to dedicate my whole life to attaining those stars. I want to open up another level of taste to the world.

'Millennium Worm' will be on show from the 16th March to 5th May at Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary.