Annie Ratti: Bombyx mori

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Open: Wed-Sat noon-6pm

1st Floor, 18 Brewer Street, W1F 0SH, London, UK
Open: Wed-Sat noon-6pm


Annie Ratti: Bombyx mori


Annie Ratti: Bombyx mori
to Sat 29 Jan 2022
Wed-Sat noon-6pm


Silk moth enclosure, 2020

Wood, willow, netting, silk moths, silk cocoons
250 x 127 x 127 cm

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Silk moth antennae, 2021

Resin, pigment, steel, fencing mask, PVC pipe
43 x 114 x 33 cm

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Bombyx mori trestle 2, 2020

Wood, LED Display
166 x 160 x 210 cm

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Venus in Furs, 
c. 1910

Found photograph

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Added to list



Amanda Wilkinson Annie Ratti 1

Amanda Wilkinson Annie Ratti 2

Amanda Wilkinson Annie Ratti 3

Amanda Wilkinson Annie Ratti 4

The restaging of natural processes has been an aspect of Ratti’s practice over the last 10 years. For this project she transformed her studio into a laboratory in which to breed Bombyx Mori silkworms. Thousands of years of silk-farming have created an interdependence between moths and humans. The little insects are fully domesticated and readily climb up fingers, but the intensive farming has greatly reduced their mobility and they have completely lost the ability to fly.

Through the insights derived from researching and observing these metamorphic creatures, Ratti has created a body of work that displays the cyclical process of their life from birth to death, starting and ending with the eggs. She has collected books on the history of rearing silkworms in her home town Como, in Italy, and the apparatus used for breeding them in the 18th Century is echoed in her works. The exhibition also includes a wearable sculpture in which the intricate structure of silkworm antennas is adapted to human scale, a linking of human and insect that also evokes the metamorphosis of Gregor Samsa in Kafka’s seminal 1915 novella.

This project was undertaken during the lockdowns of the Covid pandemic. In a world emptied of the usual distractions, Rattis time was marked by the life cycle of the tiny insects. Her works invite us to observe these creatures from a new perspective and reflect upon the centuries-old relationship our species has with them, but also to recover and reconsider our historical interdependence.

Annie Ratti is an Italian artist based in London. Her trans-disciplinary practice addresses specific historical, geographical, and social issues. She collaborates with other artists, musicians and researchers in various fields. In 1995 she founded CSAV, Artists Research Laboratory, at Fondazione Antonio Ratti (Como, Italy) that she has directed since then. CSAV is an experimental platform designed to provoke exchanges and collaborations among young artists from different geographical areas.

Recent exhibitions include: Windows , Chiostro di San Nicoló Festival dei Due Mondi, Spoleto Italy(2021); Mushrooms, The Art Design and Future of Funghi, Somerset House, London, UK (2020); Orgonomics, Garage Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2020); ANARGONIA, Amanda Wilkinson Gallery, London, UK (2019); Oggetti Funzionali, Zoo Zone Art Forum, Rome, Italy (2017); Lallazioni, (with Bruna Esposito), Auditorium della Musica, Rome, Italy(2015); Pure Water ,Lentos Museum ,Linz, Austria ( 2014);The Shroom Project, De Kabinetten van de Vleeshal, Middelburg, The Netherlands (2013); Wood Glass Paper Galleria Alessandra Bonomo, Rome, Italy (2013)

Courtesy of the artist and Amanda Wilkinson, London

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