The exhibition MM – Mundus Muliebris, a collaboration amongst Than Than Hussein Clark, Patrizio Di Massimo and George Henry Longly, investigates the idea of ornaments and the essence of an object through the lens of art and fashion.

Collaboration is a relational opportunity that can easily become not only sterile, but simply a disaster. The capacity of someone’s collaboration is equally commensurate to his or her ability to give, and as such of bringing things into the world, producing images of the self. In a magnificent letter from 1990, Gianni Versace writes: “So many people hide themselves behind their clothes. The Mafioso dresses up as Signore with tie, shirt and a jacket. Others hide behind a cassock. So many people conceal their inclinations behind a fake façade. Each and everyone of us should instead be who he or she truly is.” The works produced for MM are products, telling a story of cheeky fantasies and desires in a context that makes them schizophrenic characters.

MM – Mundus Muliebris is the acronym for Mundus Muliebris, which in Latin can be translated as “ornaments”. The first definition of ornament that surfaces reads: “A thing used or serving to make something look more attractive but usually having no practical purpose.” Which brings back to the slippery relationship between fashion and art: purpose versus purposelessness. An ornament has both.

Patrizio Di Massimo’s contribution walked on both a classic and an unconventional path. Along with a selection of his paintings, Di Massimo worked with designer Benedetta Bruzziches, and created new patterns and fabrics for her signature bag “ Carmen”. Patrizio also continued his recent experimentations with ceramic and produced unique hand-painted ceramic bags. Under the experienced and capable hands of Patrizia Fabri, hat designer and owner of the Antica Cappelleria in Rome, Patrizio transferred one of his most recognizable feature-object into a wearable sculpture.

Installation view at CURA Basement, Rome. Photograph by Roberto Apa
Patrizio Di Massimo, “The Milliner” 2015. Oil on canvas, 150 x 150 cm.
Patrizio Di Massimo, “Rhapsody in the Closet”, 2016. Oil on canvas, 150 x 120 cm.