Alighiero Boetti 1940–1994
Alighiero Boetti was born in Turin, Italy in 1940. Although he initially set out to study business at the University of Turin, he quickly found his true calling as an artist. Boetti was influenced by the work of Duchamp, and, much like Duchamp, he preferred to call his sculptures constructed out of ready-made “objects.” In the 1960s, Boetti was asked to join Arte Povera, a collective in Italy that sought to critique and subvert structures of power in their art through the use of materials like rags, cardboard, and aluminum. In 1967, he exhibited a monumental solo show of his installation art at the Galleria Christian Stein. Traveling to Afghanistan in 1971, Boetti became enamored with the masterful embroidery work produced by Afghan women. He commissioned these artisans to create works that he designed; the most famous among these works was his Mappa series. Boetti would work together with these textile artists well into the 1990s, eventually even collaborating with carpet makers to create abstract kilim carpets. Boetti passed away in 1994, but his work continues to be revered for its material diversity, intricacy, and visuals. In 2012, the Tate London exhibited a major retrospective entitled Game Plan that detailed his legacy as one of the most influential Italian artists of the decade. Boetti’s work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art, among many others.