. Antonio Ratti, Textile as Art” at National Roman Museum Baths of Diocletian, Rome

Renée Green, Space Poem #6 (Tracing), 2016
Courtesy the artist, FAM Free Agent Media and Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como


The National Roman Museum, Baths of Diocletian is hosting within the monumental spaces of its Great Halls the exhibition ARABESQUES. Antonio Ratti, Textile as Art from March 14th to May 20th, 2018. The exhibition, curated by Lorenzo Benedetti, Annie Ratti and Maddalena Terragni, is 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 interlaces the multiple aspects of the life of Antonio Ratti: 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 can be sensed in the exhibition through a selection of the ample textile collection of the Fondazione Antonio Ratti (FAR), which was born as a private collection, an tool for 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 artefacts, the cravates, the late nineteenth century brocades, the first production of designs by Antonio Ratti (1934-40), the textiles collected in pattern books, are the works of artists who over the years have become part of the activity of the FAR.

Fifteen installations and videos by as many artists are present in the Great Halls of the ancient Roman baths, confirming the vocation of these spaces for welcoming great exhibitions. Outside, a modular structure by Yona Friedman with Jean-Baptiste Decavèle, part of No Man’s Land, and a sound installation by Liliana Moro. Inside there are 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 are historical notes, documents and photographs to do with the company and a documentary video bringing together the archives of the FAR with those of the Gruppo Ratti. The exhibition is promoted by the National Roman Museum with organization and sponsorship by Electa, in collaboration with the Fondazione Antonio Ratti, the Mantova City Council and the Palazzo Te International Centre of Art and Culture. The exhibition was designed by the architects Philippe Rahm and Irene d’Agostino.


Yona Friedman, No Man’s Time, 2018
Courtesy the artist, De Vleeshal, Middelburg and Fondazione No Man’s Land


Hans Haacke, White Wide Flow, 1967
Courtesy the artist


Matt Mullican, Untitled, 2006
Courtesy the artist and MAI36, Zürich


ARABESQUES. Antonio Ratti, Textile as Art
Curated by Lorenzo Benedetti, Annie Ratti, Maddalena Terragni
14 March–20 May 2018

National Roman Museum Baths of Diocletian | via E. De Nicola 79, Roma
Opening hours: 9am–7:30pm, closed on Monday (ticket office closes at 6:30pm)