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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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Attract Attention (ATTIRARE L'ATTENZIONE) by Alighiero Boetti contemporary artwork
Alighiero BoettiAttract Attention (ATTIRARE L'ATTENZIONE), 1988Silk embroidery on canvas
22 x 23 cm
Robilant+Voena Contact Gallery
Quando le parole sono stanche by Alighiero Boetti contemporary artwork
Alighiero BoettiQuando le parole sono stanche, 1989Peshawar embroidery on linen
109 x 112 cm
Xavier Hufkens Contact Gallery
Cieli Ad Alta Quota by Alighiero Boetti contemporary artwork
Alighiero BoettiCieli Ad Alta Quota, 1988Pencil and watercolour on paper laid on canvas
51 x 72 cm
Cardi Gallery Contact Gallery
A tutto tondo mettere al mondo il mondo by Alighiero Boetti contemporary artwork
Alighiero BoettiA tutto tondo mettere al mondo il mondo, 1977Mixed media on paper ( mounted on canvas)
162 x 200 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
Saltando di palo in frasca al Pantheon by Alighiero Boetti contemporary artwork
Alighiero BoettiSaltando di palo in frasca al Pantheon, 1990Mixed media on paper mounted on canvas
70 x 50 cm
Mazzoleni 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 Recent Exhibitions

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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

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