Fondazione Antonio Ratti

Arabesques. Antonio Ratti, Textile as Art

14 March–20 May 2018
Museo Nazionale Romano, Terme di Diocleziano

The National Roman Museum, Baths of Diocletian, hosted within the monumental spaces of its Great Halls the exhibition Arabesques. Antonio Ratti, Textile as Art from 14th March to 20th May 2018. The exhibition, curated by Lorenzo Benedetti, Annie Ratti, and Maddalena Terragni, was dedicated to the Como-born textile entrepreneur Antonio Ratti (1915-2002), creator of Gruppo Ratti and the cultural foundation that bears his name.

The show interlaced the multiple aspects of Antonio Ratti's life: from design to business, art, and cultural promotion, both public and private, in a rich and articulated course covering ancient and modern textiles and works of contemporary art.

The trajectory of the entrepreneur and patron was shown through a selection of the ample textile collection of the Fondazione Antonio Ratti (FAR), which was born as a private collection, a tool to study and research for the designers and stylists of the company Tessitura Serica Antonio Ratti founded by him in 1945 and the first stage of a long and progressive industrial activity that would culminate in the Gruppo Ratti, renowned worldwide for its textile production.

Alongside the ancient Coptic and Pre-Columbian artifacts, the cravats, the late nineteenth century brocades, the first production of designs by Antonio Ratti (1934-40), the textiles collected in pattern books, were the works of artists who over the years have become part of the activity of the FAR.

Fifteen installations and videos by the artists were present in the Great Halls of the ancient Roman baths, confirming the vocation of these spaces for welcoming great exhibitions. Outside were a modular structure by Yona Friedman and Jean-Baptiste Decavèle, part of No Man’s Land, and a sound installation by Liliana Moro. Inside were works by Rossella Biscotti, Julia Brown, Rä di Martino, Jimmie Durham, Mario Garcia Torres, Melanie Gilligan, Renée Green, Hans Haacke, Joan Jonas, Matt Mullican, Luigi Ontani, Giulio Paolini, Diego Perrone and Cesare Pietroiusti.

Completing the show were the historical notes, documents, and photographs of the company and a documentary video bringing together the archives of the FAR with those of the Gruppo Ratti.

The exhibition was designed by the architects Philippe Rahm and Irene d’Agostino.

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