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(1940 – 1994), Italy

Alighiero Boetti Biography

Travelling to Afghanistan at the beginning of the 1970s, he was introduced to the traditional craft of embroidery, which marked a turning point in the artist's career. In his consequent Territori Occupati series (1971-92) he commissioned Afghan embroiderers to create a maps of the world, with each country bearing the colours and pattern of its flag. The commission grew into a beautifully crafted, large-scale series of maps produced over a period of twenty years in Kabul, Afghanistan and Peshawar, Pakistan. The land mass of each country is filled in with its flag.

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His fundamental concern with the relationship between "order" and "disorder" is manifest in his grid structures, derived from the "magical squares," that feature sayings and aphorisms that stem from cultural, philosophical, mathematical and linguistic contexts. Throughout his career Boetti worked with a wide array of materials, tools, and techniques, including ball pens (biro) and even the postal system. However it is his fascination with patterns and his pataphysical approach to mathematics and seriality that mark him out as a kind of satirical cabbalist trying to identify the one key system that will perhaps reveal some kind of universal answer.

Alighiero Boetti was born in Turin, Italy. Although not formally trained in art, Boetti was preoccupied with the theory of creativity from an early age. His early work from the late 1960s is rooted in the Arte Povera style. Initially showing in Milan and Turin, Boetti had his first US solo exhibition in New York at John Weber Gallery in 1973. He continued to show throughout Italy and the United States until his premature death in 1994. He has been honoured posthumously with several large-scale exhibitions, most notably at the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Vienna in 1997 and the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt am Main in 1998. The artist took part in Documentas 5 (1972) and 7 (1982) and the Venice Biennale (1978, 1980, 1986, 1990, 1995). In 2001, the Venice Pavillon was completely dedicated to Alighiero e Boetti’s work. In 2012 the exhibition Game Plan, was shown at the MoMA New York.

Alighiero Boetti Featured Artworks

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Senza titolo (Cartoline astratte in una giornata dell'amato vento...) by Alighiero Boetti contemporary artwork
Alighiero BoettiSenza titolo (Cartoline astratte in una giornata dell'amato vento...), 1989Mixed media on paper mounted on canvas
100 x 70 cm
Dep Art Gallery Contact Gallery
Calligrafia by Alighiero Boetti contemporary artwork
Alighiero BoettiCalligrafia, 1971Indian ink on paper
70 x 69.5 cm
Cardi Gallery Contact Gallery
Senza titolo (Tra l’incudine e il martello.....) by Alighiero Boetti contemporary artwork
Alighiero BoettiSenza titolo (Tra l’incudine e il martello.....), 1989Embroidery on cloth
111 x 99 cm
Tornabuoni Art Contact Gallery
Mille (32x32-24) by Alighiero Boetti contemporary artwork
Alighiero BoettiMille (32x32-24), 1974Ink on paper
70 x 100 cm
Tornabuoni Art Contact Gallery
Dare tempo al tempo by Alighiero Boetti contemporary artwork
Alighiero BoettiDare tempo al tempo, c. 1987Embroidery on canvas
17 x 19.5 cm
Mazzoleni Contact Gallery
Fame di vento by Alighiero Boetti contemporary artwork
Alighiero BoettiFame di vento, 1979Black ball point pen on paper on canvas
210 x 100 cm
Simon Lee Gallery Contact Gallery
Ononimo by Alighiero Boetti contemporary artwork
Alighiero BoettiOnonimo, 1973Ballpoint on paper, 11 parts, each 70 cm x 100 cm
Sprüth Magers Enquire
Mettere Al Mondo Il Mondo by Alighiero Boetti contemporary artwork
Alighiero BoettiMettere Al Mondo Il Mondo, 1975-1976Ballpoint on paper, mounted on board,
Sprüth Magers Enquire

Alighiero Boetti Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, (SELF) PORTRAITS at Parkett, Zurich
Open Now
22 February–30 September 2020 Group Exhibition (SELF) PORTRAITS Parkett, Zurich Exhibition SpaceZurich Exhibition Space
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, ITALIA Minimal at Tornabuoni Art, Paris
Upcoming
22 October–22 December 2020 Group Exhibition ITALIA Minimal Tornabuoni Art, ParisParis
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Back to London. A journey through image, time, word and space at Mazzoleni, London
Closed
26 June–19 September 2020 Group Exhibition Back to London. A journey through image, time, word and space Mazzoleni, LondonLondon

Alighiero Boetti Represented By

Cardi Gallery contemporary art gallery in Milan, Italy Cardi Gallery London, Milan
Sprüth Magers contemporary art gallery in Berlin, Germany Sprüth Magers Berlin, London, Los Angeles
Tornabuoni Art contemporary art gallery in Florence, Italy Tornabuoni Art Florence, Milan, Lucca, Paris, London, Crans Montana

Alighiero Boetti In Related Press

The true scale of Alighiero Boetti’s achievements Related Press The true scale of Alighiero Boetti’s achievements 12 June 2017, Apollo Magazine

‘I am a creator of rules,’ Alighiero Boetti once said of his working method. ‘And once I’ve created these rules, these games, these mechanisms, I can play or make other people play.’ The current exhibition of his work, in the beautiful white spaces of the Cini Foundation in Venice, has a conceptual clarity that is entirely in keeping with the...

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Major shows in Venice and Paris to map Alighiero Boetti’s monumental spectrum Related Press Major shows in Venice and Paris to map Alighiero Boetti’s monumental spectrum 21 December 2016, The Art Newspaper

Alighiero Boetti (1940-94), the post-war Italian conceptual artist whose star has been in the ascendant in recent years, will be the subject of major exhibitions in Venice and Paris. Coinciding with the opening week of the Venice Biennale (8-13 May), an ambitious survey of Boetti's work will bring together his largest and smallest pieces from 11...

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Major shows in Venice and Paris to map Alighiero Boetti’s monumental spectrum Related Press Major shows in Venice and Paris to map Alighiero Boetti’s monumental spectrum 19 December 2016, The Art Newspaper

Alighiero Boetti (1940–1994), the post-war Italian conceptual artist whose star has been in the ascendant in recent years, will be the subject of major exhibitions in Venice and Paris.

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Art Sales: globe-trotting gallerists Related Press Art Sales: globe-trotting gallerists 8 March 2015, The Telegraph

One of the most radical changes in the art world in the last 20 years is the way in which art fairs have become indispensable to a gallery’s economic well being. A report commissioned by The European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht in 2014 said that a broad section of the world’s galleries made an average 33 per cent of their income through...

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Alighiero Boetti In Video & Audio

Alighiero Boetti Il mondo fantastico Related Video & Audio Alighiero Boetti Il mondo fantastico 20 July 2020, Dep Art Gallery

What's the good of this video if not to bring back to life the exhibition Alighiero Boetti. Il Mondo Fantastico, which, in turn, had re-proposed a great installation made of little plastic animals, the kind you buy at newsstands? Alighiero Boetti's ZOO was initially thought to be a game between the artist and his sons Agata and Matteo, but it...

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Alighiero Boetti: Minimum/Maximum | 2017 | Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice Related Video & Audio Alighiero Boetti: Minimum/Maximum | 2017 | Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice 23 July 2017, Tornabuoni Art

Michele Casamonti talks about the exhibition Alighiero Boetti: Minimum/Maximum in Venice. From 12 May to 12 July 2017, the Fondazione Cini, in collaboration with Tornabuoni Art and the Archivio Alighiero Boetti, hosts an unprecedented journey through the work of the Alighiero Boetti, curated by Luca Massimo Barbero. The show also includes a...

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Alighiero Boetti | 2017 | Paris Related Video & Audio Alighiero Boetti | 2017 | Paris 28 March 2017, Tornabuoni Art

Roberto Casamonti, Matteo Boetti et Agata Boetti parlent du travail d'Alighiero Boetti à l'occasion de l'exposition organisée chez Tornabuoni Art Paris du 3 février au 8 avril 2017.

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