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Alighiero Boetti Sign and drawing. The word in art

Alighiero Boetti is one of the most precocious and eclectic members of theArte Povera. However, he distanced himself from the group in the early seventies. So as to be considered today one of the protagonists ofconceptual art in Italy.

His research plays on the formal contradictions of language, on the relationship between things and their visual, as well as linguistic, denomination.

Alighiero Boetti. The ‘quadratura’ in the art

Order and disorder is the first sentence, necessarily sixteen letters, with which Alighiero Boetti creates a ‘quadratura’ in 1972.

This procedure consists in arranging vertical lines, within a grid, all the letters that make up a sentence or word association.

The embroideries play on between letter and background, between full and empty space, between light and dark colour. Representatives of opposite and complementary realities, in search of the regulating principle of the universe.

Alighiero Boetti. Sign and drawing

In this work the phrase chosen as the central element is easy to trace: ‘Sign drawing’. But it is also accompanied by other phrases in quadrature such as “Ammazzare il tempo” or “I don’t leave, I don’t stay”. All of exactly 16 letters.

These works were made in Kabul to designs and commissions by Boetti. Then in Peshawar, after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

The now very famous tapestries can be found in several of the most important national and international auctions. Sales figures are over one million euros.

I enjoy myself almost everywhere discovering hidden phrases in these works. At the fair it sometimes happens to see the best pieces. My favorite: “Giving time to time”.

I worked a lot on the concept of order and disorder: disordering order or putting order in certain disorders…

Alighiero Boetti

Untitled (Sign and drawing), 1978, embroidery on canvas, 68 x 68 cm ©Archivio Boetti

Quest’ work is part of the group The word in art. If you want to know more you can also take a look at Joseph Kosuth e Sam Havadtoy.

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