Monday, August 27, 2012

A show the celebrates material diversity, conceptual complexity and visual beauty of an Euorpean master

A retrospective in collaboration with the Tate Modern in London and the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid is among the largest ever presentations outside of Italy of artworks by the master Italian artist Alighiero Boetti (1940–1994) until now. Organized chronologically, the exhibition spans his entire career beginning with his sculptural works or objects as he preferred to call them, comprised of everyday materials including wood, cardboard and aluminum.

Working in Turin in the 1960s amidst a closely bound community of practitioners that included Giulio Paolini, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Luciano Fabro and Mario Merz, among others, he established himself as a leading artist of the Arte Povera movement. While he is often affiliated with the moment, this exhibition considers him beyond these brief years. Here are some of the highlights of the exhibition:

Installed in a dense configuration inspired by the original clustered presentation, some of the early works in ‘Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan’ convey the material experiments of the period as well as notions of measurement and chance that the artist would play with and revise.

In 1969 he began exploring notions of duality and multiplicity, order and disorder, travel and geography, and he initiated postal and map works imagining distant places. For the work Viaggi Postali, begun the summer of 1969, Boetti sent envelopes to friends, family, and fellow artists but used imaginary addresses, forwarding each returned envelope to yet another non-existent place. Boetti thus created imaginary journeys for the people he admired.

In other conceptual, mail art-related works made throughout the 1970s, Boetti would use different stamps and arrange them in permutations on the envelopes to compose his art, and send postcards picturing a monument in his hometown from places around the world. The exhibition brings together these and other works related to travel, geography, and mapping, many of which relate to his extensive travels to Afghanistan

Another important aspect of his oeuvre is drawing, which runs as a constant throughout his work. The artist, rather than inventing, would simply bring what already exists in the world into the work; and that everything in the world is potentially useful for the artist.

In essence, the exhibition celebrates the material diversity, conceptual complexity and visual beauty of Boetti’s work, bringing together his ideas about order and disorder, non-invention, and the way in which the work addresses the whole world, travel, and time, proving him to be one of the most important and influential international artists of his generation.

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