TEXTILITIES… AND ROSES TOO at Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como

Fondazione Antonio Ratti presents Textilities … and Roses too, a group exhibition in two parts to mark the Foundation’s 30th anniversary and the centenary of the birth of its founder, the textile designer, entrepreneur and collector Antonio Ratti (1915 – 2002).

Textiles are sensual abstractions by linking tactile and optical properties, and embodying aesthetic as well as social and economic developments. Whereas in technical terms they are based on a binary structure (the intersection of threads), their characteristics (an appealing and analytical quality), emerge from complex, non-linear visual and material transfers across time and space. Antonio Ratti collected textiles – primarily samples, drawings and pattern books – as objects to study, as models to be copied, rearranged, reinterpreted and reproduced.

Approaching textiles through the lens of microhistory – a concept developed in the 1970s by a group of Italian historians as an analytical tool to probe (material and immaterial) matter – the exhibition reflects on reproduction by appropriating a method that aims to shift from a search for answers towards an attention to unexpected findings in order to subvert instituted hierarchies Carlo Ginzburg’s suggestion that it is not the cult of fragment, it is the question we ask opens up a relational field between art and textiles and introduces a critical condition of textility which has travelled through divers textures of making and thinking, crossing continents, forms of labour and media – technologies and hands.

A new display system devised by Florian Pumhösl (in collaboration with Walter Kräutler) is presented in a constellations of art works, textiles, swatches and pattern books; together they unpack a textility through processes of transfer and reproduction – using weaving as well as film, photography, archival material and display strategies as analytical tools. A second spatial narrative conceptually connects the Museum space with its immediate surrounding, a public park, as well as the Metropolitan Museum’s digital research archive; in 1995 Antonio Ratti financed the creation of the Metropolitan’s Textile Center and Reference Library which to date still carries his name.

The title of the exhibition refers to the Lawrence textile workers strike (Massachusetts, 1912); it was above all Italian women working in the US textile industry alongside with other European, Canadian, Syrian and Turkish immigrants, who shaped the transnational politicization of workers’ culture.

The first part of the exhibition – curated by Rike Frank in dialogue with Florian Pumhösl and Gregorio Magnani – will start with an opening scene including archival material, works by Gerry Bibby, Yasui Nakaji, Charlotte Posenenske,Vincent Vulsma as well as textiles, swatches and pattern books from the Antonio Ratti’s collection.

The second part of the show – curated by Gregorio Magnani in dialogue with Rike Frank – will open in early March. It will build on Charlotte Posenenske’s practice to address structure as an aesthetic and political signifying process. Together with Posenenske, a major focus will be the concrete poetry of the Brazilian group Noigandres and Janice Kerbel’s recent performative work.

Installation view, Textilities … and Roses too, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, 2015
Photo: Agostino Osio

 

Installation view, Textilities … and Roses too, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, 2015
Photo: Agostino Osio

 

Installation view, Textilities … and Roses too, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, 2015
Photo: Agostino Osio

 

Installation view, Textilities … and Roses too, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, 2015
Photo: Agostino Osio

 

Installation view, Textilities … and Roses too, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, 2015
Photo: Agostino Osio

 

Fondazione Antonio Ratti – Villa Sucota, Como
Preview : 21 November 2015 at 6:00pm
22 November 2015 – 17 April 2016

Part 1: November 2015 – February 2016
Part 2: March 2016 – April 2016