Milan tribute to artist Alighiero Boetti: a retrospective at the Studio Giangaleazzo Visconti, opening on November 28th. On display, 25 works that fully describe his fundamental contribution to the art world.
Alighiero Fabrizio Boetti (Turin 1940 – Rome 1994) is one of the most influential artists of our times, one of the most important Italian artists of the second half of the 20th century, who had a strong influence on artists who started out in the 80s or 90s. He started out artistically with a solo show at the Christian Stein Gallery in Turin in 1967, displaying sculptures made of industrial materials.
A. Boetti, Oggi il primo giorno, 1988
Self-taught, he embraced oriental culture and disciplines such as alchemy and philosophy. He worked on concepts of seriality and redundancy, investigating the issue of “duality”: in “Gemelli” (twins), a photomontage shows Alighiero Boetti holding hands with himself.
This consideration (also called “twinning”) led him, between 1972 and 1973, to chose the artistic signature “Alighiero e Boetti”, Alighiero and Boetti. The artist stresses the fact that “Alighiero” was his childish, extreme self, the more familiar side, whereas Boetti was an abstraction, a concept.
A. Boetti, Mimetic fabric, 1967
During this time he also became obsessed with rivers, flags and signs. He wanted to codify everything, to put everything in series. In 1971 he went to Afghanistan and was to return many times, creating each time works that used the colourful embroideries made by Afghan women. His work exploring the concept of the double involved a whole community who made the embroideries as a projection of himself, who merely picked the colours of the threads. Among his most famous work is a series called Mappa, 'Map', created between 1971 and his death in 1994, large embroideried pieces that catalogue some of the world's most serious political crises between 1967 and 1971, such as the territories occupied by Israel at the time of the Six Day War on 10 June 1967. In 1972-1973 he does works in ink, in the 70's he traced out news magazines covers.
A. Boetti Grigio Doncaster, 1968
In 1990 he created a large tapestry called “Tutto”, whereas in 1993 he created what is considered his farewell work, a bronze statue of himself pouring water on his head. Many consider him belonging to Arte Povera movement, but after dissociating himself from it in 1972 he never associated his name with any other.
Milan celebrates this artistic colossus – after an important retrospective displayed in Madrid’s Reina Sofia, London’s Tate Modern and New York’s MoMA – with an “Alighiero e Boetti” retrospective at the Studio Giangaleazzo Visconti (Corso Monforte 23) opening on November 28th till March 22nd.
A. Boetti, Senza Titolo (Mario Schifano)
The exhibition displays 25 works created in the last 30 years of his career: drawings, embroideries, collage, pencil on paper, watercolors, tapestries – his signature works, together with the camouflage canvas of 1967 - are among the most famous but there is much more. In each of his works colour, line and drawing are the central themes of the exhibition as well as of Boetti’s life and belief that written word as the purest form of artistic expression. Words to him were art, and a way to really draw, to give meaning to things. He used to say: “If you really want something, write it down”. One of his most ambitious works, two tapestries called Classificazione dei mille fiumi piu lunghi del mondo (Classification of the thousand longest rivers in the world (1977), represents blocky letters that spell the names of the world's 1,000 longest rivers in descending order of length.
A. Boetti, Zucchero e sale
An exhibition not to be missed, especially in this moment of global economic crisis in which each of us feel abandoned, to remind to ourselves that we are a community that needs to act as one.
By Elisa della Barba