The Heroine’s Journey of Rossana Calbi

What is the best thing that I love about my work? I love being a curator because I love thinking about what I’d like to see around. Also, my work allows me to meet people who can create beautiful things and when they are able to share them with the public, thanks to my work, I am excited.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?  I’m a simple person: I love staying at home, working while watching a good movie and making a dessert for the people I love.

What is my greatest fear? Not being able to help those I love.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? Sometimes at work, as in life, I am stubborn about projects, about people, and  I hardly change my mind. Sometimes I make mistakes in evaluating people, not as artists but with regards to humanity and professionalism.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? A curator which I have great esteem for is Paolo Del Re, some years ago I saw an exhibition dedicated to the missing persons, a work realized by Borondo and edited by Del Re and I got very excited. Today Francesco Paolo De Re with Sabino de Nichilo, continue to carry out projects on delicate themes such as the solitude in the Casa Vuota space in Rome.

What is my greatest extravagance? This work is already very extravagant! I meet people with a very developed creative spirit and also with a particular character, and my work absorbs my whole life, I constantly think of new projects, when I read a book or I see a film, so I do not think there’s room for other things in my life. But I have a passion for vintage toys, give me a Ledra Plastic animal and you make me happy!

On what occasion would I lie? When I have to mediate in situations where galleries, institutions or artists are not very fair and friction could be created. So I try to solve things, but I hate to find myself in these situations and who forces me into them will not be my future collaborator.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Sometimes your interlocutor doesn’t understand your work; both the gallery owner and the artist don’t understand that taking care of an exhibition project means expressing an artist in a certain space and at a certain moment; taking care of an exhibition doesn’t mean hanging paintings on the walls but to better understand the work of an artist in a precise context.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? I’m never completely, I’m always thinking about the next project and I think it will be the next to make me happy.

If I could, what would I change about myself? Sometimes I should stop, I try to slow down a bit, but stopping, I just can not, even when I do yoga I think about the upcoming exhibitions.


What is my greatest achievement in work? An exhibition with 110 artists. One huge group exhibition of 110 Italian artists who responded to the same theme: Exit Voto at Parione9 Gallery in Rome. Working simultaneously with more than 100 artists was a good bet that led me to collaborate with artists such as Zoe Lacchei, her Maria Maddalena continues to mean so much in my life.

Where would I most like to live? I am from Catanzaro, but I live in Rome, a very difficult city to live in, but I chose to live here and I love it very much; it’s just like when you fall in love with someone: you recognize their faults but love them anyway. But I miss the sea, even just being close to it and breathe its smell; it is too far from here, and I love Antoni Gaudí, I would gladly spend some time in Barcelona.

What is my most treasured possession? I have a delicious little work by Dan Quintana and Miso, bought at the Luz De Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, Dan Quintana tells a cold and distant femininity, his hands create a lunar beauty, I really love this little painting.

What is my most marked characteristic? The desire to do, the enthusiasm for what is beautiful.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? I love the Cloister of Bramante, I think it is the institutional place in Rome where the most beautiful exhibitions are held. They are well set up and stimulating. I had the pleasure to go there with the people I love: it’s a place where I feel good, because I see beauty treated with respect.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? The British Corner, an English corner in Pigneto, a neighborhood near the one where I live. (facebook.com/britishcornerpigneto). Michele and Salvatore are two welcoming managers, their selection of teas and sweets is extraordinary and their taste in furnishing is adorable. I also love LIBERA Soon (instagram.com/liberasoon), a tearoom near the Cloister of Bramante, I like to have my meetings there because it is close to two spaces where I organize exhibitions, Sala Blu and Parione9 . LIBERA Soon is a beauty emporium, and, in my opinion, serves the best coffee in Rome, and in the most beautiful cups, also.

What books influenced my life and how? I love Lady Chatterley’s Lover; Lawrence was a complete artist, only recently  I discovered him as a painter. That novel struck my imagination a lot, over time I discovered the influences of Otto Gross on the brave writings of the artist dressed in twill. His courage was great, and I really admire him because he was great without falling into any form of obvious obscenity.


Who are my favorite writers? I love Herman Hesse very much, I love his understanding, his enthusiasm and his ability to judge his own poetic peaks. I remain very attached to classical literature, but today I read with pleasure Paolo Sorrentino, who I appreciate more as a writer than as a director, and Veronica Raimo: she can read sadness and anxiety with lightness, I find in her a real talent.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? I do not know. Instead of music, I would choose a sound: I would like to hear the sound of the sea and be close to it.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Francesca da Rimini. Her beauty and her ability to love in spite of torment deeply affected my adolescent soul when I was at school. She is beautiful in the illustrations by Paul Gustave Doré, that aesthetics and that passion have influenced my way of seeing art and, in general, of loving.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? People who fight every day. I admire the courageous mothers like Simona Marrazzo: she and her husband Francesco Fagnoni transformed an individual battle into a collective one, they have transformed suffering into a desire to do with the association dedicated to their little one who is no longer here: Mattia Fagnoni Onlus (facebook.com/MattiaAmfOnlusFagnoni). I admire who do and who speak little and do not complains.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime? Gone With the Wind. Scarlett is a woman who makes a thousand mistakes but knows how to start over and, also, then Vivien Leigh is beautiful!

What role plays art in my life and work? It’s the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think about before going to sleep and it is in my dreams too! It’s what I want and I love!

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? A few days ago the artist Zoe Lacchei wrote me: your work is too tiring, I do not know how you do it. Reading this from such an artist excited me. So, when someone like her understands my work and supports me, I can go to the best. Then there are people like Luca Zampi, who involved me in the craziest project I have followed: the Beu-Beu Art Festival. He is the most proactive person I know. My family, who despite all the difficulties always wants to help me, and my love,  who listens to all my fears and continues to do so despite my being repetitive and stubborn.

Whom would I like to work with in 2018? With Veronica Raimo. I would like to involve her in a project related to art and writing and dedicated to women’s work.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2018? I would like to meet Giada Wood, I would like to work with her again. In her I discovered an artist able to question herself with simplicity and courage. We are looking forward to seeing you on Instagram (instagram.com/giadawood/)

What project, in 2018, am I looking forward to work on? I’m working on some projects for Parione9 Gallery in Rome (http://www.parione9.com) and this summer there will be the Beu-Beu Art Fest (https://www.facebook.com/beubeuartfestival/), but at the same time there are a thousand other things: my project Graphiste, dedicated to female illustration that is touring Italian festivals and galleries, my collaborations with the fashion store Not Your Dolls (https://www.facebook.com/notyourdolls.shop/), the indipendent culture shop: Inferno Store (http://www.infernostore.it), and then there is the publishing house Del Frisco (http://edizionidelfrisco.com) with whom I am collaborating to create an illustration book dedicated to women’s art and finally «Stigmazine» (http://www.infernostore.it), a magazine I write for and with whom I collaborate in a thousand ways thanks to the indefatigable Alessandra Giannini.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Without passion I would not work as a curator, so I do not know how a life without passion would be.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? I’ve already talked about it: Zoe Lacchei, Giada Wood, Alessandra Giannini from Stigmazine, Claudia and Martina from Inferno Store, Paola from Not Your Dolls, Marta Bandini and Elettra Bottazzi from Parione9 gallery.

How can you contact me? You can find me on Fb (https://www.facebook.com/rossanacalbi) and on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/rossana_calbi), you can also find the link of the association Strange Opera (https://www.facebook.com/Strange-Opera). You can find my work on social networks.

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