Textilities … Once Removed at Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como

Doug, 2014, Mitchell Library, Glasgow.
Photo: Alan Dimmick.
Courtesy greengrassi, London; Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver.


The Fondazione Antonio Ratti is pleased to present Textilities … Once Removed, the second part of the exhibition celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Foundation and the centenary of the birth of its founder, the textile designer, entrepreneur and collector Antonio Ratti (1915-2002).

Textilities … Once Removed reconfigures a group of sculptures by Charlotte Posenenske already present in the first part of the show and brings them in dialogue with a large selection of two- and three-dimensional Brazilian concrete poetry from the 50’s and 60′s by the Noigandres group, as well as with works by André Cadere, Hilary Lloyd and Janice Kerbel, and with 19th century katagami paper stencils and “reserve dye” textiles from the FAR collection. The juxtaposition outlines an unexpected coincidence of interests and procedures.

In each instance a strict abstract structure and a sense of disobedience are employed to convey semantic values. Using structure both as an expressive tool and as a subject of analysis each artist foregrounds their works’ materiality and physical presence. It is in this self-reflexive rupture that each artist induces within their work that signification is materialized “at one remove from the page.”

In the Brazil of the early 50’s – at the threshold of the economic boom that lead to the creation of Brasilia and Petrobràs and to the increasing influence of the United States’ interests in the country’s economy – the Noigandres (Décio Pignatari and the brothers Augusto and Haroldo de Campos) investigate the subversive  “verbivocovisual” qualities of language and the generative possibilities of graphic space. They insist that “only as much as it is a materially expressed medium, a concretion of signs, ‘a significant form,’ poetry is poetry.” Their work is represented in the show by a vast group of postal and three-dimensional poems, prints, collages, books, documents and ephemeral material.

The structural research carried out by the Noigandres finds an echo in Posenenske’s wish to disappear from her own work to offer a “demonstration of the principles of rationalised modification,” and in the infected systems of André Cadere’s Barre de Bois Rond as well as in the recent work of Janice Kerbel and Hilary Lloyd. Janice Kerbel is represented here by Doug, her  cycle of nine songs for six voices, and by the large scale typographical work. In both she pursues a forensic analysis of, and in-depth immersion into, musical languages previously foreign to her. This double perspective is typical of all her work and is coupled with a recurring interest in giving shape to thing that normally have none. Hilary Lloyd’s Movie (2015) deploys a highly choreographed montage. In it, filmic fragments, photograph and re-photograped images, recount a gaze at once obsessive and disengaged, directed at the surface of the visible. This gives rise to a self-reflexive investigations on the act of looking.

In the context of the FAR, a further methodological echo of these concerns is found in ‘reserve dye’ ikat textiles, where the dye is allowed to penetrate only some segments of the yarn while others are protected by a waterproof binder, and in the Katagami printing masks, that give rise to very high precision, systemic decoration, where the dye is external to the cloth itself.

The exhibiton opens on 5th March with a performance of Doug, Janice Kerbel’s song cycle for six voices.

Fondazione Antonio Ratti – Villa Sucota Via per Cernobbio, 19 22100 Como – Italy
Opening Saturday 5 March 2016, 6:30pm (performance, 7pm)
6 March – 17 April 2016