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Historical Promiscuities

A collection of large, special edition (of 5) ceramic pieces (called Kallisto, Kalliope & Kallistrate) for Bitossi Ceramiche, as well as the presentation of the Roman Singularity for Milan Design Week 2018, with specially commissioned exhibition design. Curated by Luca Molinari, with the contribution of, and in the studios of Vudafieri Saverino Partners.

You know when you are really, really hungry, starved even, but you didn’t notice until you walked into a supermarket, and it’s mad, it’s overwhelming, everything, all these endless shelves of delights and goodies have an insatiable, animal pull on your stomach, they aggressively seduce your thirsty belly through the eyes, an overwhelming delirium of desire, and you want everything, you want to devour all of it, to chomp and chew, and swallow again and again and again until you are full up? Well we are starved. We are desperately hungry, even if we don’t realise it. We’ve been fed on a starvation diet of mean, thin gruel, without colour, without ornament, with no sugar, no spice, no history, no allusion, no banquets, no feasts, no love-making, no carnival, no lustre, no bodies, just bread, a knife, and water. You are very, very hungry. Perhaps you do not realise it. Perhaps you’re even starved. Perhaps we all are, and when a person has been starved it’s best not to overwhelm their bellies, or they’ll throw it all up, and keep none of the goodness in. So, no supermarket for now, it might be too much, for now the emergency lunchbox, little packets of delight to save us from a world of wealth without pleasure. Three icons, three hints, three tasters. In an age of puritans, in an age of dead history stale with the dank dust covers of old men, it is time for the rise of the promiscuous, it is time for the three horse-ladies of the apocalypse. Forget gravitas, forget dogma, welcome Kalliope, Kallistrate and Kallisto.




History doesn’t belong to the historians, it dies, it turns to dust and crumbles in their hands. It doesn’t belong in great tomes hidden in dark libraries, or to the conservatives, or the fascists, it belongs to us, to each of us, to make of it what we will, it is ours, those who made it left it to us in the very act of dying. It’s not a burden, it’s the very material from which we can carve and make things anew… every renaissance façade, every Nubian statue, every Kashmiri fabric should be as instantly accessible and as fun as the latest dancing chihuahua video on youtube. To save history we must use it, constantly, we must be entirely irreverent with it, we must wear it as lightly as a tank top worn by a young man at a summer festival. We must imagine our cities like Benjamin Button, getting younger and younger with every passing year, and so the older in fact they are, the younger they’ll now be. We must be polyamorous in our dealings with the past, we must be promiscuous, we must get into intense love affairs and have terribly dramatic break-ups. We must save the future by not allowing anyone to dictate to us the meaning of what came before, by not allowing them to idealise or to be nostalgic. We must shove the incandescent licentiousness of a chromatic and creative chronology front and centre, and where better than to begin at the beginning, with ceramics, the most ancient of the ancient, like all those naughty Etruscan pots lined up in the Museums, but set free, running wild, cavorting and unruly bright little Historical Promiscuities, Kalliope, Kallistrate and Kallisto.

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Photos by Paolo Pandullo

A special thank you to Elena Olivero