LONDON, UK, Sir John Soane's Museum
13 Sep 2014

Since the Etruscan tombs, even before appearing as a structural element in the history of architecture, the arch derived its figure from the Phallus. Inspired by the Egyptian god of fertility, the series of seven Min sculptures exhibited at Sir John Soane’s Museum investigate the origin of the sacred.

John Soane, Façade of no. 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, 1812. Photography: Antonino Cardillo, 2014.

John Soane, Façade of no. 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, 1812. Photography: Antonino Cardillo, 2014.

Antonino Cardillo, Min, Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 2014. Photography: Antonino Cardillo.

Antonino Cardillo, Min, Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 2014. Photography: Antonino Cardillo.

The transition from the circle to the square has always been a fundamental theme of architecture. Min resolves the passage from the parallelepiped to the sphere through the intersection of the two solids, identifying a monolith with four arched sides with a hemispherical dome. The formal result of Min is also reminiscent of the canopies of Sir John Soane and the later Red Telephone Box, the London kiosks designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who, in turn, took inspiration from the Soane family tomb in cemetery of St Pancras Old Church.

Antonino Cardillo, Min, London, Sir John Soane's Museum, 2014. Photography: Antonino Cardillo.

Antonino Cardillo, Min, London, Sir John Soane’s Museum, 2014. Photography: Antonino Cardillo.

“Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome. These rites were often associated with women. They involved liberation from civilization’s rules and constraints. They celebrated a return to the source of being. They also involved escape from the socialized personality and ego into an ecstatic, deified state or the primal herd. Such activity has been interpreted as fertilizing, invigorating, cathartic, liberating and transformative. Many devotees of Dionysus were those on the margins of society: women, slaves, outlaws and foreigners. All were equal in a cult that inverted their roles. Festivals were orgies of wine and sex: Over all reigned the Phallus.”—Wikipedia

Time: 13 Sep–11 Oct 2014
Place: Sir John Soane’s Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, UK
Materials: limestone, onyx, and marbles

Architect: Antonino Cardillo
Client: Sir John Soane’s Museum
Producer: Marmi Ghirardi, Italy
Text: Antonino Cardillo
English translators: Antonino Cardillo, Paolo Bedetti
Photography: Antonino Cardillo

Thanks to Siobhan Henderson.

Design Exchange, vol. 1, no. 12, London, Aug 2015.

ANTONINO CARDILLO, Trapani, Jun 2019, English translation by Paula O’Brien.
Lettera Aperta, no. 325, Cattedrale di Trapani, 25 Dec 2015.
Baunetzwoche, no. 403, Berlin, BauNetz, 26 Mar 2015, German translation by Kristina Herresthal and Lisa Kadel.