Textile as Art: Antonio Ratti Entrepreneur and Patron
1 October 2017–7 January 2018
Palazzo Te, Mantua
"Knowledge of the past gives birth to new ideas and creates new forms of beauty ”
Textile as Art: Antonio Ratti Entrepreneur and Patron opened at Palazzo Te in Mantua from October 1st 2017 to January 7th 2018. The exhibition was produced by the Comune di Mantova, the Centro Internazionale d'Arte e di Cultura di Palazzo Te, and the Museo Civico di Palazzo Te. It was created in collaboration with the Fondazione Antonio Ratti and curated by Lorenzo Benedetti, Annie Ratti, and Maddalena Terragni.
The life of Antonio Ratti weaves together business and art, creativity and cultural activities, public and private. Ratti's vision was founded on the idea that culture, knowledge, and art are fundamental tools for understanding one's own time. The exhibition intended to paint a portrait of this distinguished and elegant, multi-faceted, and eclectic man who, by investing in the education of human resources and the valorization of textiles as art, emphasized the quality of his textiles.
High quality, experimentation, and innovation are the defining characteristics that distinguish the work of Antonio Ratti. These characteristics were shown throughout the course of the exhibition by establishing a dialogue between Ratti's textiles and the monumental rooms of Palazzo Te, which then continues into the exhibition spaces of the Fruttiere.
Thanks to the contribution of the architect Philippe Rahm, the exhibition revealed textiles in their various forms: from the abundant Fondazione Antonio Ratti (FAR) collection of ancient fabrics to the vast archives of the Ratti company. Visitors engaged in a tactile experience with the various textiles as they were displayed on a central runway in the spaces of the Fruttiere, thereby restoring a synesthetic idea of textiles.
Contemporary art was present in the exhibition through works by artists who were involved with the Foundation's numerous cultural activities throughout the past decades. Among the artists who were invited to exhibit are those who have led and participated in past editions of the CSAV – Artists' Research Laboratory workshop, including John Armleder, Julia Brown, Jimmie Durham, Hans Haacke, Mario Garcia Torres, Melanie Gilligan, Renée Green, Joan Jonas, Giulio Paolini, Diego Perrone, Yvonne Rainer, and Gerhard Richter. In the outside spaces of Palazzo Te, important installations by artists such as Yona Friedman, Richard Nonas, Matt Mullican, and Liliana Moro were on display.
An exhibition catalogue containing various texts and materials related to the history of the company and the Fondazione Antonio Ratti was published by MER Paper Kunsthalle. The publication includes essays analyzing Antonio Ratti's collection of antique textiles, as well as essays by artists who have participated in past editions of the CSAV – Artists' Research Laboratory workshop.